Olympic faces EU probe over noisy aircraft

Ailing state airline Olympic Airways is about to become, once again, the target of an investigation by the European Commission, this time because of its old and noisy aircraft. The commission has warned Greece of a formal complaint for infractions of EU laws because Olympic has a number of Boeing 737-200 planes that do not conform to European noise-emission standards as established by a 1992 directive. A solution to the problem exists, in the form of an engine muffler, or «hushkit,» which can be fitted into the engine. The EU originally intended to ban those planes as well but repealed its legislation in March under US pressure. In any case, Olympic has failed to equip its 737-200s planes with hushkits and will now likely face sanctions. Greek authorities have asked for a partial exemption, but Transport Directorate officials in Brussels were not willing to discuss one. The EU is also investigating Olympic over alleged illegal state subsidies. The Greek government has tried, but failed so far, to find a buyer for the indebted airline. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), lending $16 billion to Turkey to help it out of its crisis, requires the audit as a central condition among a swathe of reforms Turkey must take to earn a latest, $1.1 billion slice of its $16 billion reform pact.