Olympic Airlines - The Best from Greece

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Area: Attica, Attica, Athens
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For 50 years, Olympic Airlines are at the service of travellers.

The Airline which introduced the security and the high levelled service of air-transport worldwide is developing and continuously adapting to the requests and the needs of its passenger, with particular care.

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Olympic Airlines began operating in its current form on December 12th 2003, following the integration of all Olympic Airways and Olympic Aviation flight operations by Macedonian Airlines, which was renamed to Olympic Airlines, and until then only performed charter flights.

The internationally recognized "rings" logo and the experienced and highly trained flight staff of Olympic Airways and Olympic Aviation were transferred to Olympic Airlines.

Olympic Airways was founded on April 6th 1957, following the acquisition of "TAE - Greek National Airlines" by Aristotle Onassis. The first OA flight was carried out at dawn on that day, from Athens Airport "Hellinikon" to Thessaloniki, with a DC-3 aircraft flown by captain Pavlos Ioannidis. The new company had few means at its disposal: just 15 Douglas DC-3s and DC-4s propeller-driven aircraft and 865 employees.

The passion and ambition of the Greek shipping magnate would soon make OA a synonym for excellent service and a symbol of Greece. Olympic became the Country's most important ambassador, to the ends of the earth, charting a course that is impressive.

The Early Years

Immediately after its maiden flight, Olympic Airways announced an order for new ultramodern aircraft, for the period, the Douglas DC-6B. The uniforms of the staff were designed by Jean Desses, a French fashion designer of Greek descent, while the company steadily established itself in the minds of the public as a model of comfort and service.

In 1959, OA placed an order for its first jet aircraft, the De Havilland Comet 4B. Its network covered all Greek airports of the period and major destinations in Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The '60s

In the 1960's, Olympic Airways was the fastest-growing airline company in the world. In 1960, OA took delivery of its first Comet 4B aircraft, while, in the same year, Brussels and Amsterdam were added to its network.

Impressive strides forward were made in the years that followed.

In June 1966, OA launched its daily flights to New York, with its new Boeing 707-320. New aircraft and new routes were constantly being added, while in 1968 the company's network reached as far as Johannesburg in South Africa. In the same year, OA took delivery of its first Boeing 727-200. A year later, OA added Montreal, Canada to its destinations.

In the 1960's Olympic was literally and metaphorically "in fashion". Famous fashion houses, such as Coco Chanel, Pierre Cardin and Yiannis Tseklenis (early 1970's), designed its uniforms, while world renown celebrities such as actors, singers and personalities of the arts and sciences choose OA for their transport, "borrowing" a touch of glamour from the image of Aristotle Onassis. Olympic Airways became a global point of reference in aviation and one of the most valued ambassadors for greece, throughout the world .

The '70s

The rapid development of OA continued in the years that followed.

In 1970, Olympic received its first NIHON YS-11A turboprop aircraft, which reinforced its Domestic network. In 1971, new routes were launched to Milan and Dusseldorf, while Thessaloniki was directly connected to European cities as well as other destinations in the Company's International Network.

On August 2nd 1971, Olympic Aviation was founded, with a fleet of small propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters. Its mission was to connect the country's smaller airfields, which could not be approached by large aircraft.

On March 3rd 1972, Olympic Airways became the Airline of the Five Continents, by inaugurating its service from Athens to Sydney. In the same year six Boeing 720s were added to the fleet.

Just fifteen years after its foundation, the small Olympic Airways of 15 propeller-driven aircraft that transported 244,000 passengers in 1957, now had a network that spread across the Five Continents, transporting 2,590,000 passengers in 1972.

In June 1973, OA took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200 "Jumbo Jet", and is one of the few companies in the world that possessed this giant airliner. The year 1973, however, held two unfortunate events in store: the tragic loss of Alexander Onassis, Aristotle Onassis' son and successor of the Onassis "dynasty", and the onset of the oil crisis, due to which OA withdrew its interest in the purchase of A?rospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic jets.

In 1975, Olympic Airways passed into the hands of the Greek State.

New International routes were launched, while in 1976 the first Boeing 737-200 was delivered. Olympic Catering was also founded in 1976, and by 1977, Olympic Airways spread its wings for Dhahran, Dubai, Benghazi and Kuwait as well as a Domestic route to Santorini.

In 1978, OA was one of only four airline companies, which supported the ambitious European Airbus project and ordered A300-B4 type aircraft. In the same year, OA lead the way to abolishing frontiers, by launching the Athens - Tirana route.

In 1979, OA set the electronic booking system (CRS) into operation.

The '80s

In 1980, OA took delivery of more Airbus A300s, Boeing 737-200s and Shorts 330 commuter aircraft, while it also founded the subsidiary tour operator, Olympic AirTours.

In 1982, OA celebrated its 25th year and in 1983 its fleet increased with its first 19 seater Dornier 228, which for the next 20 years would constitute the most significant link to the small islands of the Aegean.

By 1985, Olympic Airways launched even more International and Domestic routes to destinations such as Leros, Paros, Sitia, Copenhagen, Madrid, Amman and Paphos, while it reopened routes to Australia and Canada after an absence of seven years.

In 1987, OA celebrated its 30th year, while in the following year it spread its wings to Barcelona and Bangkok.

The '90s

In 1990, OA took delivery of its first ATR-42, and launched a new route to Tokyo, Japan. In 1991, Galileo Hellas was founded and, in September of the same year, OA received its first Boeing 737-400, while it launched new routes to Berlin and the Greek island of Syros. By the end of 1991, OA took delivery of its first ATR-72 turboprop.

In 1992, the OA fleet received Airbus A300-600ER in its midst. Chicago, Boston and Beirut were added to the network. Macedonian Airlines, a subsidiary of OA, was founded in the same year, with the role of operating charter flights.

By 1996, Olympic Airways received yet more Boeing 737-400s, Airbus A300-600ERs, ATR-42s and ATR-72s aircraft and broadened its network towards even more destinations both Domestic and International, including Astypalaia, Ikaria, Sofia, Stockholm, Belgrade and Bucharest.

In 1999, OA received its first Airbus A340-300, while Olympic Aviation placed an order for its first jet aircraft, the Boeing 717-200.

2000 -2003

In 2000, Olympic Airways continued to add new aircraft into its fleet, welcoming more A340s as well as 717s. A new route to Manchester was added to its International network, while in the same year OA returned to Benghazi.

On March 28th 2001, the curtains fall on Athens "Hellinikon" Airport, after 68 years of continuous and smooth operation. With commemorative photographs, OA employees said a tearful "farewell" to Hellinikon. "It was our home. We grew up and made friends and families here", they said in a touching tribute. "Farewell, Hellinikon. We will remember you forever…"

As on that morning in April of 1957, the destination of the last OA flight from Hellinikon Airport was Thessaloniki, and it was piloted by captain Timoleon Kalogerakis. The first departure from the new Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" was Olympic Aviation flight 760 to Chios, with an ATR-72 aircraft, at 05:50 on the morning of March 28th 2001.

In 2002, OA received new Boeing 737-300s and ATR-42s aircraft and, in 2003, four DASH-8-100Qs, a remarkable aircraft with very short runway requirements, suitable for numerous airports in the Greek Archipelago.

On December 12th 2003, Olympic turned a new page:

After a historic course of 46 years, the Olympic Group of Companies was restructured.

The flights operations of Olympic Airways and Olympic Aviation were absorbed by Macedonian Airlines, which was renamed Olympic Airlines, and until then had only executed charter flights.

Olympic Airlines started operating at 00:01 after midnight on December 12th, with the first flight being OA 325 to Cairo, at 00:50, whose wings bore the weight of a name and logo with a long history.


Year 2004 is a landmark for Greece and Olympic Airlines: Greece organized the Games of the 28th Olympiad.

As a Grand Sponsor of the Olympic Games "Athens 2004", OA transported in August 631,226 passengers, many of whom were athletes. The company carried out 8164 flights with an on time performance of 92.7%.

On June 1st, Olympic Airlines announced its collaboration with Cyprus Airways and Hellas Jet. This new collaboration offered the public nine daily flights from Athens to Larnaca, as well as daily connections between Thessaloniki and Cyprus. In addition, OA spread its wings to Paphos, while in collaboration with Hellas Jet, frequencies to Manchester were doubled to 4 flights a week.

Since June 17th, OA flies daily to Berlin-Tegel, while on the 30th of the same month, the Olympic Airlines fleet was increased with the addition of yet another Boeing 737-300.

On a special flight on July 5th, an OA Airbus A340-300 brought back from Lisbon the Greek National Football Team, European Champions of EURO 2004.

On October 27th, OA increased connections to London with a further two flights from Athens to Gatwick, twice a week.

On November 10th, a further 3 weekly flights to Bucharest and 2 to Sofia were added, while the Athens-Istanbul route is serviced twice daily.


In 2005 Olympic Airlines, recorded a significant increase in passenger traffic.

Specifically, in the first half of 2005, an increase in International passengers of 12.3% (+184,939 passengers) was noted and an increase in income of 14.6%, compared to the equivalent period in 2004. Total passenger traffic, for both Domestic and International networks, rose to 3,345,628 passengers (period JAN-JUL 2005) compared to 3,227,851 for the equivalent period in 2004.

The international network was strengthened, with increased frequency of flights from Athens to Alexandria, Belgrade, London (Gatwick), Milan and Tel Aviv.

In the Domestic network, two further flights a week were added between Thessaloniki and Mytilene. The new flights raised the weekly frequency of flights to 10, of which 5 are direct and the remainder stopover at Limnos. In addition, yet another weekly flight was added to the route Thessaloniki - Chania.

On October 14th, OA was the only company that introduced a Youth / Student fare to 13 cities in its Domestic network, for passengers between the ages of 17 and 24, at a price of 40 euros (80 euros return).

On December 8th, OA introduced Internet Check-In. Passengers travelling on Domestic flights without luggage can be issued an electronic boarding pass, and ensure their seat on the plane without waiting at the Check-In Desks.


Year 2006 found Olympic Airlines supporting a world-wide television event: OA was the Official Carrier of the 51st Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Athens on the 19th and 21st of May.

On August 9th, yet another destination was added to the OA network. The Greek island of Kalymnos, which is famous for its sponge divers and rock climbing, became directly connected to Athens International Airport with daily flights. Kalymnos is OA's 36th Domestic destination and the eighth in the Dodecanese Prefecture.

The number of OA passengers choosing to make an electronic reservation through Olympic's website rose dramatically, up to 50% more than the previous year.

On September 4th, OA proudly welcomed the Greek National Basketball Team on special OA flight 4728 from Tokyo, after winning the Silver Medal in the World Basketball Championships held in Japan.


On April 18th, Olympic Airlines announced the extension of its Code Share agreement with Cyprus Airways on the Thessaloniki - Paris route, as well as the new route Heraklion - Larnaca.

On April 29th, a new service was launched to connect Northern and Southern Greece. An ATR-42 took off from Thessaloniki headed for Kalamata. Kalamata became OA's 37th Domestic destination.

On May 16th, OA was certified for the second time after 2005, according to the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), confirming the Company's continued commitment to flight safety and quality passenger service.

On June 6th, yet another Boeing 737-400 was added to the OA fleet.

On July 5th, a new agreement between OA and American Express was concluded, to convert the daily purchases of regular passengers into free flights with Olympic.

The OA winter schedule for 2007-2008 includes more frequent flights to major Balkan cities, while flights to Dubai become almost daily.

Year 2007 closes with the absolute predominance of the e-ticket and Olympic web services showing a huge leap in demand, while electronic reservations show an increase of 91%, compared to the previous year.


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