Saturday, October 3, 2009

Olympic Airways RIP (1957-2009)

Developed into an international airline by shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, bought by the Greek government and operated by pro-socialist unions; successfully run into the ground.

Olympic Airlines declared bankruptcy on 29 September and ceased all operations. Olympic Airlines last flight from Vienna. Flight 160, Boeing 737-400. Low pass over runway 03R and landing at runway 03R in Athens, Greece, September 28th, 2009:

"The company has faced serious financial trouble since the 1980s, mostly because of management problems." ( Although articles conveniently point the finger to past governments (some of their leaders are deceased), a big share of the problems of Olympic Airways was its leftist unions. Inflexible, greedy and providing a poor level of service. To get a feel of operational disruptions by its unions Google: Olympic Airways + labor strikes.

Olympic Airways was a sizable airline: Traffic for Olympic in 2007 reached a total of 5,977,104 passengers (3,115,521 in domestic and 2,681,583 in international flights) compared to approximately 5,500,000 passengers in 2006. It is estimated that Olympic Airways earned approximately 780 million euro in 2007 (about 1.1 billion US dollars.)

Olympic was Greece's airline. My heart would skip a beat when I would see an Olympic Airways airplane in the air or at a gate in any of the many airports were I have passed over the years. It's like seeing a piece of Greece right there, in the middle of Asia or Australia.

However the last two decades Greeks themselves renamed it from "Olympiaki Aeroporia" to "Olympiaki Taleporia" (it rhymes in Greek) or roughly translated, from Olympic Airways to Olympic Troubleways. Might as well RIP.