Gov’t to start talks on Olympic Airlines The government has decided to enter into negotiations with the Greek-American consortium Olympic Investors over the privatization of national carrier Olympic Airlines, the Economy Ministry said in a statement late yesterday. Last month, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis had said that three of the five original groups were being considered for talks, without naming the contenders. In April, Olympic’s main local rival, Aegean Airlines, and the German holding company Intro, which partially controls low-cost airline DBA, had announced that they had submitted bids for the company. British company Klesch, Olympic Investors and Dutch investment fund Sure Estates were also identified at that time as potential bidders by the Greek press. (AFP) Prosecutor calls for acquittal of former PPC board members Prosecutor Giorgos Koliocostas yesterday called for the acquittal of the 11 former Public Power Corporation board members who are being tried on charges of breach of faith in connection with the tender for the construction of a new power plant at Lavrion, south of Athens. Koliocostas suggested that current PPC chairman Yiannis Palaiokrassas, who brought the suit, had failed to substantiate the charges and that no evidence emerged from the hearing to prove that the corporation suffered the alleged 16-million-euro loss. Best Greek banks US magazine Global Finance has chosen EFG Eurobank Ergasias as the Best Bank in Greece for 2005, and the National Bank of Greece (NBG) as the country’s Best Foreign Exchange Provider. It has also selected NBG as the Best Sub-Custodian in Greece for foreign institutionals for the third year in a row. Winners will receive their awards on September 26, at the annual convention of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Air fare rise Privately held Aegean Airlines will increase its fuel surcharge on tickets from July 18 due to soaring oil prices, it said yesterday. The surcharge on domestic tickets will rise by 1 euro to 3 euros and for international tickets by 3 euros to 5 euros, the carrier said. Flag carrier Olympic Airlines has said it will monitor other airlines before making any decision. It introduced fuel surcharges last August. High oil prices led British Airways Plc and Virgin Atlantic Airways to increase their fuel surcharges on tickets on Monday. Aegean last raised its fuel surcharges on tickets in April. (Reuters) ACI re-election Athens International Airport’s (AIA) Deputy Chief Executive Yiannis Paraschis was re-elected vice-president of ACI Europe, AIA said yesterday. Based in Brussels, ACI Europe is the body that represents the interests of about 400 airports in 45 countries, which account for over 90 percent of commercial air traffic in Europe. AIA, a regular member of ACI Europe since the airport’s opening in 2001, will host ACI Europe’s annual assembly in June 2006. Greece, which owns 55 percent of AIA, intends to take the airport public and list it on the Athens Stock Exchange «EXCr. AT» next year as part of its privatization agenda to reduce public debt. (Reuters) Tourism declaration The tourism ministers of Greece and Turkey, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Attila Koc, will today sign the «Greek-Turkish declaration of Samos and Kusadasi on Tourism,» within the context of the two-day Greek-Turkish tourism forum being held today on Samos and tomorrow in Kusadasi, Turkey.