OPINION

Coordinated steps for OA’s recovery

There is little doubt that Olympic Airlines’ road to recovery will include job cuts. Take a look at Delta and Northwest, America’s third- and fourth-largest airlines, which are also undergoing a process of restructuring (similar to the one drafted for Greece’s national air carrier). More than 52,000 Delta and 40,000 Northwest staff are expected to lose their jobs. About 150,000 people formerly working in the US air industry are currently unemployed. Note that Delta and Northwest operate in the citadel of capitalism – a place of efficiency and productivity and where state intervention is unthinkable by Olympic’s standards. In other words, even if Olympic were not haunted by its evil past, its future would still look gloomy. The surge in oil prices was enough to send the operation costs of air carriers skyward. Strong competition from discount rivals has shrunk profit margins. If Greece really wanted a national air carrier it should have taken coordinated action. Europe pays 10 percent more for finished goods than the US, where the local cartel prevents the construction of new units. When PASOK came to power in the early 1980s, it canceled the construction of a petrochemical plant that had been ordered by its conservative predecessors. Greece wasted a huge opportunity under the pretext of protecting the environment. The government must not squander similar opportunities today.