submitted by John Stathatos on 30.05.2010
Earlier this year, Athens Airways, a tiny domestic airline essentially run as a hobby by a successful rubbish-bin manufacturer, acquired the contract to fly the Athens-Kythera line, as well as eight other supposedly subsidised island routes. This was a disaster for the island, since the reason the airline was awarded the contract was that they offered to flye a subsidised route for zero subsidy. Why was that disastrous? Quite simply, because once the company went out of business, or its owner found another hobby, the Greek ministry of transport could argue that the route had been shown not to require subsidy – which in turn would make it a certainty that no carrier would willing to serve the island, at least not in the off-season.
In addition, Athens Airways proved unreliable, with unexplained delays becoming the rule rather than the exception, while the aircraft used on the Kythera route were usually old, run-down models on short-term charter from various obscure East European companies. To say nothing of the fact that for months, attempts at booking tickets, or even finding out whether any flights operated between Athens and Kythera, were frustrated by the simple fact that Athens Airways hadn’t bothered to join the international airline ticket booking service.
For all these reasons, Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority suddenly pounced on May 27th, rescinding the company’s contract to fly the subsidised routes. As it turned out, Athens Airways had ignored several formal warnings, and suffered a number of fines before the ultimate sanction was applied.
The good news is that Olympic Air, the original under-bidder, is to take over the route as of June 1st. There will probably be some confusion for a few days, and the flight times will almost certainly be different, but it looks as though nobody will lose either their money or their reservations.
submitted by John Stathatos on 01.06.2010
This is the latest announcement from Olympic. However, stay tuned for possible further developments.
Olympic Air, commences operation to Kythira, Karpathos and Skiathos
Press Release, Monday, 31st May 2010
Olympic Air (ΟΑ), commences operation of three additional Public Service Obligation Operation routes (PSOs) from 1st June 2010, onwards: Athens - Kythira - Athens, Athens - Karpathos - Athens and Athens - Skiathos - Athens.
Tickets to Kythira, Karpathos and Skiathos that have been booked/issued by Athens Airways a third party airline willcannot not [sic] be accepted by Olympic Air, since no interline agreement exists among the two carriers.
To book your ticket, please contact OA's Call Center Customer Service at +30 210 3550500, or your travel agent. Alternatively you may can book your ticket online, at www.olympicair.com
submitted by John Stathatos on 03.06.2010
1. If you made a prior booking with Athens Air via a travel agent, you will get a refund from the agent.
2. If you made a prior booking with Athens Air over the internet, you will get a refund on the credit card account used.
3. Reservations will not carry over; you must book all over again with Olympic.
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