Time’s up for Olympic Airlines bids

With the passing of the deadline for the submission of Olympic Airlines bids, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, said it will not be participating in the tender, despite Greek government claims to the contrary. Greece received seven nonbinding bids for state-owned Olympic’s flight operations, now called Pantheon, including one from UK-based investment firm PCP Capital Partners and Etihad, the Transport Ministry said in December. «We have no involvement with any consortium bidding for Olympic Airlines,» Iain Burns, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad’s vice president of corporate communications, told Bloomberg. Greece’s government obtained European Union approval in September to sell unprofitable Olympic and its ground-handling and maintenance services businesses separately in an effort to end years of disputes over government subsidies. Binding bids were due yesterday. Last week the government said the privatization of Olympic Airlines is «proceeding well.» Others who submitted nonbinding bids for Pantheon, according to the Transport Ministry, were Athens Airways and SkyOne; Chrysler Aviation; the Eurocorp joint venture of Air Mediterranee, Vernicos Group and international investors; the Fouad Al Ghanim Group with Gainjet; Klesch & Co; and SkyEurope Holding AG.

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