ECONOMY

Arab-owned airline eyeing part of Olympic

A Greek charter airline owned by Jordanian interests is reportedly considering the acquisition of part of Olympic Airways (OA). Hellenic Imperial Airways (HIA) is eyeing taking on both a part of the flight schedule of Olympic Airlines and a part of Olympic Airways Services, particularly the company’s ground-handling unit. HIA officials noted that they had tried in the past to make scheduled flights to destinations which Olympic had long stopped serving, but claim they ran into strong resistance on the part of the Civil Aviation Authority. What the Jordanian investors are mostly interested in is Olympic’s technical base, even though their company has not been handled by OA since technicians of the Greek flag-carrier made sure the contract that HIA had with the relevant arm of Olympic was terminated, according to sources from the charter airline. This could become one of the most profitable branches of the company, provided there is the full utilization of its potential. However, the dynamic entry of Hellenic Imperial Airways into Olympic can only be fulfilled if the conditions of labor relations for the staff are changed. Nevertheless, the government’s apparent reluctance to meet with the company – despite repeated efforts by company officials to approach government members – seems to have made HIA’s objective a difficult one. The charter airline attributes its exclusion to date from scheduled flights to a six-month delay in the issuing of a license which they also claim is the result of the «unjustifiable» end of the contract with the Olympic technical base. Olympic employees have argued that the company had severe problems and gaps in its operations. HIA has already proposed to lease aircraft to Olympic for its flights, although HIA jumbos with a capacity of 450 passengers would hardly be useful to OA, which faced a 14 percent fall in passenger traffic last month. Its occupancy rate fell from 68.3 percent in May 2007 to 62.2 percent last month.