NEWS

Olympic must pay 194 mln

The European Commission yesterday ordered Olympic Airways to repay a total of 194 million euros that the government had given the struggling national carrier in assistance, saying that, «It considers that all this aid enabled Olympic Airways to benefit from preferential treatment compared with its competitors, thus distorting competition in the common market.» The government said it would appeal against the ruling and would keep Olympic flying. «We know the tough financial circumstances of Olympic Airways,» said the EU’s transport commissioner, Loyola de Palacio. «We want no discrimination against anyone. We must make sure the market runs smoothly.» The Commission said that a loan of 19.5 million euros granted this year did not constitute aid. Also, compensation for the move to the new Athens airport and 8 percent VAT on domestic links «was compatible with the competition rules.»