Greek airlines merge- Olympic and Aegean

Greece’s two major airlines, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines SA, are merging to create a “national airline champion,” the companies said in a statement Monday.

The two airlines together have 97 per cent of the Greek domestic air travel market and will use the name Olympic Air after a transition period in which the Aegean name will be used in parallel.

The companies said they were combining to better compete within the European Union and preserve jobs in the industry.

“The prevailing conditions in the Greek economy as well as in the aviation sector dictate the combination of forces in order to maintain competitive customer prices, protect levels of employment and increase our competitiveness at a European level,” said Olympic Air chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos, head of Olympic’s 100 per cent shareholder, Marfin Investment Group (MIG).

The merger must be approved by European Union regulators, a process that “will take several months,” MIG spokesman Seraphim Konstantinidis said.

The combined airline is not expected to operate before October, 2010, at the earliest, sources say.

The merged company will have 5,850 employees, including Aegean’s current 2,500, Olympic Air’s 1,300, as well as 2,000 in Olympic Handling and 50 in Olympic Engineering, which will be 100 per cent subsidiaries of the new company.

Olympic Air is the successor airline to state-owned, debt-ridden Olympic Airways, later Olympic Airlines, which accumulated massive deficits for all but one of its 34 years of state ownership, from 1975 to 2009. It was sold to MIG, after several unsuccessful privatization attempts.

It currently flies on 41 domestic and 15 international routes, a drastic cutback from its heyday in the 1980s.

Aegean Airlines flies to 24 domestic and 26 international destinations. It is a regional partner of Lufthansa and collaborates with Brussels Airlines, Portugal’s TAP and Britain’s bmi.

One Response to “Greek airlines merge- Olympic and Aegean”

  1. Two Die from Freak Waves on Louis Cruise Ship | Greece Traveling Says:

    […] Greek airlines merge- Olympic and Aegean […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.