ECONOMY

Government looking at alternative solution to keep Olympic flying

As the dateline for the selloff of Olympic Airways approaches, fewer and fewer people believe that the outcome will be successful. Despite this, bidder International Airline Solutions (IAS) has shown that it is keen to take over the national carrier. The company proved to be a political lifeline for the government following the termination of discussions with Axon Airlines, which ended its operations due to declining business. Despite this, the government appears not to be convinced of the ability of IAS to keep Olympic a viable operation. As a result, it has insisted and expects the consortium to deposit 102 million euros in an escrow account by today. While the spotlight is on what will happen in the days preceding January 31 – the expiry date of negotiations with IAS – the government is actively promoting an alternative solution behind the scenes. This aims at reducing Olympic’s operations and splitting the company into different, smaller units. The government also wants Brussels to approve state aid to the airline. Private airlines appear to favor the breakup of Olympic into different activities, as this could lead to the merger of their companies with some of these divisions. Businessmen could acquire some of these operations as well. Olympic’s management, which unfortunately has evolved into an unreliable, contradictory organization, appears to favor any solution other than IAS, even the alternative solution whispered about at the Transport Ministry. In any case, selling Olympic to IAS is also a form of state subsidy, the magnitude of which will be revealed in the event a deal is reached with the state and both Brussels and Parliament approve the agreement.