Greek carriers Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines have announced plans to merge, in the same week that an air traffic control strike is set to disrupt flights to and from the country.
Subject to approval from the European Competition Commission, the two airlines will merge under the name Olympic Air. No timetable has yet been given for the merger, and it is unclear if the move will affect Aegean’s inauguration into Star Alliance, which is due to take place in June.
Olympic Air was itself formed from the privatisation of state carrier Olympic Airlines last year, while Aegean Airlines started scheduled passenger operation in 1999, and last year switched its UK flights from Stansted to Heathrow. According to Aegean the two carriers currently serve a total of 65 domestic and 41 international routes.
The move comes as the Greek Air Traffic Controllers Union is due to stage a 24-hour strike tomorrow (February 24). According to the Olympic Air website, all flights to and from Athens International airport will be cancelled bteween 0000 and 2359 tomorrow, while Aegean says that it has been forced to cancel all flights on its network. A number of changes have also been made to today’s schedules.
Report by Mark Caswell