Olympic says it’s business as usual

With the busy Christmas season approaching, it is business as usual at Olympic Airlines (OA) despite a government announcement the airline is headed for a shutdown. The state-owned airline said yesterday that bookings are at normal seasonal levels and it will aim to provide passengers with the best possible service. «At the same time, the company’s management assures passengers that it continues to smoothly offer its services,» the airline said. On Monday, Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis said OA will be shut down and a new, «healthier» airline will take its place in coming months after an EU ruling that it needs to pay back millions of euros in unlawful state aid. In a bid to gain public support to stay in the air, OA staff said they are not planning any strike action over the latest government announcements. OA cabin crew said they will take part in a nationwide general strike on December 12 «and will turn to the public to let it know who is right regarding what is going on.» Hatzidakis assured OA’s staff, which totals some 9,000 people, that no job positions will be lost due to the airline shutdown. Meanwhile, PASOK leader George Papandreou argued in Parliament yesterday that by improving OA’s management and giving employees a greater say in company affairs, the airline’s competitive future can be secured.