Premier: Air transport entering new phase

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, referring to the signing of the Olympic Airways airline company’s transfer agreemeent to the Marfing Investment Group (MIG) group, said on Monday “the period of decline for Olympic Airways is finally closing and our homeland is passing into a new phase concerning air transport.”

The prime minister added that the period of decline of the airline that had unbearable burdens for the Greek taxpayer and legal troubles in the European Union is finally closing, while stressing that the Greek citizens will stop paying one million euros that Olympic cost on a daily basis.

The new company, Karamanlis further said, is expected to contribute 150 million euros a year to public coffers and the new Olympic Airways will continue its activities with the same name and emblem.

He said that the government worked systematically and in an organised way to have this issue concluded, adding that it held tough negotiations with the EU to enable the new company to forge ahead without the debts owed by Olympic Airways and the employees were safeguarded with the decisions taken.

“We achieved our goal,” the prime minister said, stressing that the solution to this longstanding problem took place at a difficult economic conjuncture and pointed out that the issue of Olympic Airways was also handled with a sense of responsibility.

Karamanlis underlined that Greece was entering a new period in air transport, and referred to “healthy competition between companies, possibility of multiple options for passengers and service for all the unproductive routes.”

PASOK reaction

Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou, commenting on the prime minister’s statements said “it is accompanied by a considerable cost for the Greek taxpayer in the region of 1.5 billion, to which the prime minister did not refer.”

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