ECONOMY

In Brief

New twist to Olympic Airlines sale saga seen before year-end The government will make a fresh attempt to sell national flag-carrier Olympic Airlines by the end of the year, possibly stripped of some non-core units, financial daily Imerisia reported yesterday. The carrier was set up as the successor to debt-laden Olympic Airways in December. The former Socialist government had hoped to find a buyer for the slimmed-down carrier but the process was stalled by the March general elections. The tender will be declared unsuccessful in the coming days, with another sell-off attempt launched immediately, the paper said, citing unnamed Transport Ministry sources. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has said the government will push ahead with the airline’s sale next year, bidding to raise 1.5 billion euros ($1.84 billion) from privatization revenues. Olympic Airlines will not be shut down, regardless of the outcome of a new tender, the paper quoted the Transport Ministry sources as saying. The carrier will be sold off together with its handling and technical operations, or even without the units if necessary, it added. The European Commission earlier this week said it was considering opening a second probe into whether the airline received state aid. It had launched a legal case in March to investigate whether the Greek government’s plan to create a slimmed-down carrier involved government subsidies. Transport Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment. (Reuters) OTE to cut fixed-to-mobile charges from October 1 OTE Telecom will cut rates for calls made by its users to local mobile operators’ networks by up to 13.6 percent, effective October 1, it said yesterday. The move came after the country’s four mobile operators said they would slash prices for incoming calls from fixed-line phones to their networks, starting next month. Tariffs for fixed-line calls terminating at CosmOTE’s and Vodafone Greece’s networks will fall to 0.185 euros per minute from 0.21 euros, OTE said in a statement. Calls to Stet Hellas’s network will cost 0.19 euros against 0.22 euros now, while calls to Q-Telecom’s network will be cheaper at 0.235 euros per minute compared with 0.27 euros. Operators are under pressure from the telecoms regulator EETT and the European Commission to lower their charges and bring them in line with European Union averages. (Reuters) Airport superstore Sports goods importer Elmec Sport said yesterday its subsidiary Factory Outlet agreed with Athens International Airport to build and operate a discount superstore within the airport’s business park. The deal covers the period up to December 31, 2025. The discount superstore will cover a total area of 13,000 square meters and is expected to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2005. It will offer a wide variety of branded apparel and footwear products. (Reuters) Istanbul flights Olympic Airlines said yesterday it will increase its scheduled flights to Istanbul, adding two new flights from September 29. The new flights, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, will bring Olympic’s scheduled service to Istanbul to 12 flights weekly. (Reuters)