Olympic Airlines to become Olympic Air with a new face change

After years of a failed aviation business strategy, which clearly impacted on operations, the Greek carrier Olympic Airlines has finally and effectively ceased to exist (as from the 29th of September 2009).

The loss-making state carrier was purchased by the Marfin Investment Group (MIG) powerhouse. A new era is born as the airline is now being relaunched with a slimmed-down network and new aircraft as it moves into the hands of private ownership operating under the name Olympic Air.

The people that be at Olympic Air wasted no time and quickly set up a new website being www.olympicair.com, although online bookings are not yet actually possible. The new carrier officially launched on the 1st of October 2009, with 20 key domestic routes in addition to the following 10 international destinations, whereby both economy and business class services will be available:

1. London
2. Paris
3. Vienna
4. Brussels
5. Amsterdam
6. Milan
7. Rome
8. Bucharest
9. Larnaca
10. Sofia

At Perpetual Traveller we are surprised not to see the Barcelona and Madrid routes not featured in addition to NO German destinations.

The new carrier suggests that it will initiate operations with a lean fleet of 24 aircraft, which is expected to rise to 32 by spring 2010, as it takes delivery of new Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, as well as new Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 planes.

Olympic Air plans to team up by means of code-share with Delta on flights to New York as from early October 09, and is finalizing code-share agreements with Air France (between Greece and France, as well as to Montreal from March 2010) in addition to Etihad (for routes between Greece and Abu Dhabi, South Africa and Australia).

A brand new frequent flyer program has also been realised and termed as the "Travelair Club". Olympic Air did specifically state that “in recognition of their loyalty, frequent passengers of the former Olympic Airlines who participated in the Icarus programme will be rewarded by Olympic Air with miles of the newly created Travelair Club”. Icarus used to offer miles for life, so we wonder if the "Travelair Club" will match this?

Whatever happens Olympic Air can do no worse than the former Publicly owned Olympic Airlines, however they will have a long way to go to match their award winning new competitor Aegean. With a leaner competitor and new airlines in the market such as Athens Airways and Hellas Jet for Charters, this has to be good news for Greek air travellers

Grant Holmes
Perpetual Traveller