Athens, Wednesday, June 23, 1999: The Greek Transportation Ministry has, subject to final parliamentary approval, awarded a management contract to British Airways` independent consultancy division, Speedwing, for the turnaround of Olympic Airways, the country`s national airline, and its preparation for possible privatisation.
Covering an initial 30-month period, it is one of the largest and most significant contracts of this kind yet placed in the world airline industry, awarded to Speedwing in the face of strong competition from other agencies in Europe and the United States.
Speedwing will second a small, highly experienced executive team to Olympic, to lead its transformation into a profitable and competitive carrier with a long-term future and to recommend an alliance strategy for the airline. British Airways will provide full support to the project and access to its own resources.
The management team will be led by Rod Lynch, who will become Olympic`s Chief Executive and join its Board, with immediate effect. Mr Lynch is currently Chief Executive of BBC Resources Ltd, a Board member of the UK Civil Aviation Authority and formerly Managing Director of Air Europe and a senior executive at British Airways.
He will be supported as the airline`s Director of Operations by Captain Jock Lowe, currently British Airways` Commercial Manager Concorde and previously Director of Flight Crew and General Manager Operations Control for the UK airline; and, as Commercial Adviser during the initial phase of the contract, by Peter White, who recently retired from British Airways as Director of Sales having previously served as the airline`s Director for Europe and as Managing Director of British Airways World Cargo
All three secondees played key roles in the turnaround of British Airways in the 1980s, in preparation for its highly successful privatisation in 1987.
Separately from the Speedwing contract, British Airways has indicated it may be interested in taking an equity stake in Olympic following its successful turnaround.
Announcing the contract, Mr Anastasios Mandelis, Greece`s Minister for Transportation, said: “The turnaround of our national airline is a key element to the restructuring of our public sector in preparation for Greece`s entry into European Monetary Union in 2001. Competition to win this contract was intense. We have chosen a team with a proven track record for turning around the fortunes of a national flag carrier and transforming it into one of the biggest successes in the airline industry. We are confident that they will make Olympic a profitable, customer focused carrier of which its employees and the Greek people can be proud.”
Rod Lynch said: “This is a challenge which any airline professional would relish, and I am very much looking forward to working with the team at Olympic to make the airline a real gold-medal winner in this industry.”
Steve Dunning, Managing Director of Speedwing, said: “We are honoured and delighted that the Government of Greece has selected British Airways` Speedwing to handle what must be the most important airline consultancy project of the decade.”