Posted on: 22/Oct/2009
Olympic Air’s fleet comprises brand new planes. “I don’t think there has ever been an airline in the industry that in five months has done what we have done. It is a tremendous achievement when you consider the only thing we started with was the purchase of the name [with no aeroplanes], said Olympic Air CEO Antonis Simgdalas." In addition we are employing 5,000 people,” he told the Athens News.
Speaking to reporters on October 12, Antonis Simigdalas, the airline’s chief executive officer, said Olympic Air (OA) is already transporting 10,000 passengers daily and “has created a new culture in all aspects”.
The leaner airline has 35 percent fewer routes than the old company, Simigdalas added, the result of a decision by the European Commission that impacted on the privatisation terms of the former state airline. Popular international destinations, however, include Paris and Amsterdam.
The revamped airline has signed a code-sharing agreement with Delta Airlines for flights to New York and is soon to be part of the SkyTeam Alliance, facilitating passenger transfers between specific carriers.
A similar agreement with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will offer Olympic passengers access to the Middle East.
Vgenopoulos has called the airline’s relaunch “historic and moving”, a unique achievement in the industry, given the new airline was up and flying only a few short months after its acquisition from the Greek state. In March, MIG paid 177 million euros for the once ailing carrier, effectively saving it from bankruptcy.
Customers have shown their support, Vgenopoulos said, “which gives us the strength to push forward with our work”.
MIG’s investment in its fleet is expected to exceed $1.1 billion (745 million euros). Some 32 planes will be in place by spring 2010, including 16 Airbus A319 and A320 jets, as well as one ATR- 42, ten Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 and five Bombardier Dash 100 turboprops.
Meanwhile, 24 of those planes were delivered in time for the transfer of OA to MIG on October 1, a date celebrated with an inaugural flight to Thessaloniki. OA also has launched a new website (www.olympicair.com).
The European Commission earlier this year agreed to write off 2.6 billion euros in debt and cease legal action over the repayment of another 850 million euros in state aid to the airline’s predecessor, the similarly named Olympic Airlines.
Saved the carrier
The decision saved the airline by clearing the way for its privatisation after numerous earlier failed attempts over the years. It also resolved the long-running legal battle between the Greek state and the commission.
Meanwhile, MIG has obtained an internationally registered trademark for Macedonian Airlines and plans to open a subsidiary based in Thessaloniki.
The current corporate ethos surrounding OA calls for the creation of an airline which taps into Greek customers’ emotional connection to the historical carrier. To that end, MIG has amassed what it bills as a “technologically advanced fleet, one of the youngest in the market”.
The carrier’s parent company plans to adopt “an extroverted approach towards other carriers, open to value-creating commercial agreements and committed to building credible and reliable relationships”.
Olympic Air, MIG says, plans to follow a pricing policy “in accordance with a standard, full-service carriers’ pricing model”.
OLYMPIC Air has amassed what it describes as “one of the youngest” fleets
in the business. We take a look:
•Currently there are 24 aircraft: 13 Airbus jets (five A320s and eight A319s), seven Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s, three Bombardier Dash 8-100s and one ATR-42
•On November 1, the fleet will increase to 25
• The carrier will grow again in spring 2010 to 32 aircraft: 16 Airbuses (A320/A319), 10 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s, five Bombardier Dash 8-100s and one ATR-42
• As constituted, the fleet is said to provide Olympic Air with operational and commercial flexibility by allowing use of the most suitable aircraft for the route and season
• OA will also have at least two standby aircraft to ensure on-time departures
• Of the 16 Airbuses, seven are A319s and nine are Α320s, with a capacity of 138 and 162 passengers, respectively. Ten of the aircraft are brand new, four are two years old and two are six years old. The delivery of the Airbuses will be completed by March 2010.
• Of the ten Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, eight are brand new and two are two years old
• The five Bombardier Dash 8-100 aircraft will fly to domestic airports with small runways
• The ATR-42 aircraft will fly domestic routes, serving in a supporting role for the remaining fleet
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