Tender for airline routes postponed

The Transport Ministry yesterday called off a tender awarding state-subsidized airline routes to private air carriers due to the October 4 elections. «The tender procedure will be relaunched after the new government takes office,» the ministry said in a statement. Recently privatized Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines were among the seven companies that took part in the tender to service 17 mainly island destinations. The tender involves providing flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to islands that include Kalymnos, Icaria, Astypalaia, Skiathos, Skyros, Samos, Chios, Lesvos, Karpathos and Kythera. The offer, announced by Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority, encompasses a total of 24 routes that are commercially unviable, hence the state subsidies for the carriers that serve them. Other companies that participated in the tender for the routes were Astra Airlines, Athens Airways, Carpatair, Hellas Jet and Sky Express. Regarding the ongoing privatization of Olympic Air, the ministry said procedures are moving ahead as planned for the completion of the sale and the new company will launch flights by the end of the month. Marfin Investment Group, which purchased the loss-making airline, is scheduled to unveil the future plans of Olympic Air at a press conference in Athens today.