photo by caribb
Greek flag carrier Olympic Airlines appears to be flying into even more turbulence. The Greek transport minister, Costis Hadzidakis, said that although the government was dedicated to keeping Olympic afloat, "the situation for Olympic has become even more difficult," especially after Ryanair complained to the EU that Olympic has not repaid over 700 million euros ($1.2 billion) of illegal state aid that it received between 1998 and 2002. The government has said before that calls for repaying the money is making it impossible to find investors interested in a possible privatization of the airline.
If Olympic is forced to close, Hadzidakis said, then none of the airline's 8,500 employees would lose their jobs, and none of the Greek islands would lose air service to the mainland. But the fact that the country's transport minister is issuing such a dire projection of Olympic's future is widely regarded as a sign that the airline might have to close down soon. According to the Greek government, Olympic costs Greek taxpayers 300,000 euros ($442,830) a day.