OA records 23mln loss for 2003

Olympic Airlines (OA) posted a 23.08-million-euro loss in 2003, the ailing national carrier said yesterday. The state-run airline has not provided figures for 2004 and did not say whether the numbers included losses incurred before Dec. 12, 2003, when it was formed after the merger of Olympic Airways, Olympic Aviation and Macedonia Airlines into a single company. Ground handling and maintenance were spun off into the separate Olympic Airways Services. OA is up for sale and advisers for the privatization will inform the government in early February of any potential bidders. Last March, European Union regulators opened a formal investigation into the previous government’s plans to salvage the carrier, while the EU Commission said in September that it will investigate extra state aid given to Olympic Airlines. Meanwhile, private Aegean Airlines, established in May 1999, announced yesterday that its aircraft flew more than 3.5 million passengers in 2004, a 25 percent increase from 2003, to make it the fastest-growing domestic airline operating out of Athens Airport. (AP)