Olympic bests Aegean’s flights offer

Marfin Investment Group (MIG), the owner of Olympic Air, offered yesterday to fly 24 public-service routes without state subsidies as an interim measure until a government tender can be held to award the routes after next month’s elections. The Transport Ministry recently canceled the tender to service mainly island destinations, saying that it would be relaunched after the October 4 polls. «MIG will recommend to the board of its subsidiary Olympic Air – the only company that can meet the needs of all 24 routes – to put this decision into effect until a transparent and correct tender is completed,» MIG said in a statement. 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 encompasses routes that are commercially unviable, hence the state subsidies for the carriers that serve them. Last week, Aegean Airlines offered its fleet for the same intermediary period, recommending that it be paid half the amount the government currently pays for the routes. As a response to Aegean’s offer, MIG said it does not want 1 euro in subsidies for the transition period when «a symbolic fee can turn out to be exceptionally profitable.»