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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Private OA's maiden flight
  • [02] Papariga : No to ND and PASOK
  • [03] Tsipras: Proud of campaign

  • [01] Private OA's maiden flight

    (ANA-MPA) -- Olympic Air (OA), the revamped former state-run carrier, formally launched its operations on Thursday as part of the Athens-based Marfin Investment Group (MIG).

    The first official flight by Olympic Air, conducted by an Airbus 320, took off from Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) at 7:45 a.m. and arrived in Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport at 8:15 a.m., symbolically retracing the route of the very first flight carried out more than half a century ago by Aristotle Onassis' Olympic Airways (OA).

    The airbus, piloted by captain Sotiris Kalogirou, Olympic Air's flight operations director, carried MIG group chief Andreas Vgenopoulos, the airline's senior executives and reporters on the new airline's maiden flight.

    Before the flight departed, a traditional blessing took place, officiated by Metropolitan Nikolaos.

    Addressing a brief ceremony, Vgenopoulos called the day "historic and moving", noting that it was a unique achievement in the sector of air transports that the new airline was set up, fully operational and flying in just a few short months, and expressed appreciation for the immense support of the public, 'which gives us the strength to push forward with our work".

    Vgenopoulos also stressed, however, that: "We are not the owners of the name 'Olympic', but only its managers. The name belongs to the Greek people".

    During a similar ceremony upon arrival at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport, Vgenopoulos announced that MIG possesses an internationally registered trademark for the title "Macedonian Airlines", which was previously OA's charter unit.

    "We have received the codes, and no one else can fly with this name," he stressed.

    Vgenopoulos said an OA subsidiary, named Macedonian Airlines, will be set up and headquartered in Thessaloniki for the purpose of soon serving the business and tourism needs of the region.

    According to sources, the first flights to be carried out by Macedonian Airlines will be to Germany and Amsterdam.

    The flight was greeted on arrival by several local officials.

    Caption: An Olympic Air aircraft on Thursday, 1 Oct. 2009. ANA-MPA / N. ARVANITIDIS

    [02] Papariga : No to ND and PASOK

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga stressed that "the programme for the recovery from the crisis that will be implemented by the new government following orders coming from Brussels will make all workers' conquests in Greece disappear."

    Addressing Piraeus Bank employees in Athens on Friday, Papariga said that "the ruling New Democracy (ND) party should not be given more time in office." She also stressed that "voters should not place all their hopes on main opposition PASOK", pointing out that "there is no hope that a PASOK government will be better".

    Papariga called on the voters to support her party, stressing that it will not enter into any type of cooperation with the two mainstream political parties.

    Caption: Communist Party of Greece leader Aleka Papariga speaks to Piraeus Bank employees in Athens on Friday 2 October 2009. ANA-MPA/ALEXANDROS BELTES

    [03] Tsipras: Proud of campaign

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party president Alexis Tsipras on Thursday stressed that the left-wing SYRIZA alliance had already posted its first victory before the polls had even taken place in that it had forced the pre-election campaign to focus on crucial issues of policy and social affairs. He made the statement while addressing workers at the Nea Ionia municipality.

    "We have managed to made central to the political discussion the issue of uninsured employment, the issue of flexible labour relations, the issue of the 'Stage' programmes where thousands of young people are rendered hostage to clientist relations with the political parties that are in power and have given them false promises of appointment to a job without social insurance for 480 euros in the public or private sector," he said.

    Regarding the government, Tsipras said that this had disappointed all hopes and expectations people may have had and that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was "unique in the annals, not just of Greece but also on an international level," for leading his party toward elections without caring so much about their outcome as about retaining control of developments within New Democracy on the day after the polls.

    Regarding main opposition PASOK, meanwhile, SYN's leader said it was asking voters to vote it into government with a "blank cheque".

    He contrasted this to SYRIZA, which he said had presented policy positions on a series of major problems and was fighting a "battle that is beautiful and transparent on our part".

    "It is a battle that we are proud to be fighting together and in this battle we ask for your vote," he added.

    Statements were also made by veteran leftist politician Manolis Glezos, who stressed that SYRIZA was his choice because it joined the fragmented left into a vehicle of political cooperation and common action for the rights of the people.

    "We vote in favour of SYRIZA for the yearning it has bred in all the fighters. In order to awaken sleeping hopes and give wings to dreams for a Greece that is independent, democratic and has social justice," he added.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Synaspismos leader Alexis Tsipras

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