Successor to OA is taking shape

Olympic Airlines, Greece’s troubled national carrier, is to be replaced by a completely stripped-down airline which will be called Pantheon Airways, according to a business plan which has been prepared by the government and was seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini. The new carrier will be shorn of all its subsidiaries such as ground handling, and will focus only on actual flights. Pantheon’s first flight is slated for October 26 this year. Under the plan, prepared by Sabre Airline Consulting, the new airline will employ less than 2,200 people compared to the 6,200 currently working at OA. The new hirings will have to go through an application process, similar to any private company, and will not be cherry-picked from Olympic. The Greek state will be the main shareholder in the new airline but Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas is compiling a list of private investors interested in obtaining a share of Pantheon. The European Commission was given a copy of the business plan and has allowed Doukas until the end of the month to present the list of interested parties. Last September, the Commission sealed OA’s fate by ordering the airline to return up to 700 million euros in illegal state aid. Pantheon will operate a reduced schedule, flying to 92 destinations (26 fewer than Olympic) and less frequently than its predecessor.