The main shareholders of Greek airlines Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air have agreed a merger which, if the deal is permitted by the European...

The main shareholders of Greek airlines Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air have agreed a merger of the two airlines which, if the deal is permitted by the European Commission, would  result in the formation of a new company to be listed on the Athens Exchange.

Olympic Handling and Olympic Engineering, formerly subsidiaries of Olympic Air’s bankrupt, state-owned predecessors Olympic Airlines and Olympic Aviation and bought by private-sector Marfin Investment Group when it purchased the Olympic name and route assets, would each become 100 per cent subsidiaries of the combined entity formed by the merger of Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air.

Although Aegean Airlines is now Greece’s largest airline in terms of passengers carried (Aegean and Olympic each have 32 aircraft in their fleets) and is due to complete its preparations to join the Star Alliance by June, the post-merger airline would carry the name and logo of Olympic Air. The merged airlines would adopt the Olympic Air name and logo following a transition period during which the name and logo of Aegean Airlines would also be used in parallel, the two carriers say.

The merger agreement is subject to the approval of the European Competition Commission, which is the relevant competent authority given the size and particular terms of the transaction. However, sources told The Associated Press that the EU’s review will take several months and that the proposed merger partners don’t expect the combined airline to begin operating until October 2010 at the earliest.

Aegean Airlines, Greece's largest airline at the time of the announcement on February 22, 2010 of its proposed merger with Olympic Air, operated an all-jet fleet of 32 aircraft as of February. Aegean's fleet included four Airbus A321-200s, 18 A320s, four soon-to-be-returned Boeing 737-400s and six Avro RJ100s. In this photograph, one of Aegean's A321-200s takes off from Toulouse Blagnac airport, where most of the Airbus final-assembly lines are located

According to the terms of the merger, the main shareholder of Aegean Airlines (Vassilakis Group) and the sole shareholder of Olympic Air (Marfin Investment Group) would have an equal shareholding in the combined entity. The groups of Messrs Laskaridis, V. Constantakopoulos, G. David and L. Ioannou as well as Piraeus Bank, investors in Aegean Airlines, would all maintain their proportional equity stakes in the new company.

Aegean Airlines chairman Theodore Vassilakis and Olympic Air chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos are expected to lead the new company.

See Page 2 for more on the proposed merger of Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air

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