OPINION

Seeking a viable survival plan for OA

During Costas Simitis’s reign in government, I personally spoke to Christos Verelis in his office at the Ministry of Transportation on how best Olympic Airways should be restructured in order to be competitively survivable. I proposed exactly what has been announced by [present transport minister] Michalis Liapis a few days ago. The former minister refused to see the viability of such a plan by arguing with typical socialist cliches regarding employee protection and so forth, regardless of the huge losses that in reality are covered by taxes collected from the Greek people! I suggested that since the state-operated OA protected its employees at a great cost, why not continue to do so and in parallel allow a structure that could make OA profitable and thus a productive contributor to Greece’s economy? Well, such is life! I am not surprised at Mr Verelis’s recent comments on the announced decision. I hope the current decision brings forth a successful OA. We Hellenes who live outside Greece love to see OA fly; it has become a great symbol for us, but it must become economically competitive and viable. Regardless of the proposed solution on paper, it must be realized that OA needs a competent management team that is allowed to operate without political interference from the state or unions. Without this, the proposed concept will be nothing more than a stopgap solution that will keep OA on a path of major financial losses and the eventual shutdown of the company. A note: During my career in industry I turned around over 20 companies in the USA and Europe. JOHN PSAROUTHAKIS, Michigan, USA.