New model Olympic born

Greece’s permanently ailing state carrier, Olympic Airways, officially metamorphosed yesterday into a slimmer, debt-free firm named Olympic Airlines, which the government hopes to offload to private investors. The transformation, which follows 28 years of public ownership for the company founded 46 years ago by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, only applies to the company’s passenger and cargo flights, with Olympic Airways remaining as a bloated, state-controlled entity that will handle ground services. Transport Minister Christos Verelis said the makeover took a bare 60 minutes, about an hour after midnight on Thursday. «Everything went very well and with good coordination,» he said, voicing hopes that a buyer will be found. Although several firms expressed a non-binding interest in the carrier in the autumn, matters have not proceeded much further since. The European Commission has yet to approve the restructuring, while OA flight attendants have been on strike against the deal for the past two weeks.