We left “Olympic Airlines” for our “epilogue”,because I believe that it represents the business venture of Aristotle Onassis which mostly reflects the “one-dimensional” and “ruthless” personality of this greek shipping magnate(Neanderthal), but also the “fixation” of modern greeks to mythologize that which is “mediocre” and “false” in society.Examining various facts concerning “Olympic Airlines”,we become aware of the great “chasm” which exists between “modern greek myth-making” and “modern greek realities”(at all levels),as well as of the enormous “hypocricy” and “amorality”* which Onassis exercised in his life,since he always pretended to be a “down to earth” greek,who adored the greek culture(ancient and modern),who valued highly his “greek ethnicity” and was deeply in love with the natural beauties of Greece.I believe that all modern Greeks today have the “habit” of expressing this type of worship for anything which is greek;how authentic and real this feeling is,only “they” themselves know!!!
We shall therefore start with what is the “greek virtual version” concerning “Olympic Airlines” under the ownership of Aristotle Onassis and of course the “greek virtual version” concerning Onassis himself.The “virtual story” goes like this:In 1957,Konstantinos Karamanlis,the then Prime Minister of Greece,was able to convince Aristotle Onassis to buy a “faltering” state airline company for 2 million american dollars,on “favourable terms”.These last two words,represent “key words” in the modern greek vocabulary,because they are “almost always” translated practically into a “financial scheme” which benefits all the protagonists,except the “greek peoples”!!These “favourable” or”preferential” terms,we shall examine after we have gone through the “virtual” description of “Olympic Airlines” and of course its owner,Aristotle Onassis.
The story says that in 1957,Aristotle Onassis had bought a “bankrupt” state airline company with 14 Dakota airplanes and a personnel of 865 people,while in 1975,when Aristotle Onassis sells back the airline company to the greek state,the airline is one of the best in the world,with an air-fleet of 28 modern airplanes,travelling to all 5 continents.There was also “Olympic Air Navigation” with a fleet of 7 airplanes and 3 helicopters which serviced all air travel to the many greek islands.In 1975,the personnel of the company numbered 7,350 people(p.3.www.armoniaradio.gr/modules.php?op=modload& name=New…).The “conventional” views of Greece΄s mass media as well as those of Greece΄s social establishment,which to a large degree coincide with the attitude of modern greeks to “mythologize” the ordinary and not the extraordinary,emphasize how Aristotle Onassis with his “enterpreneurial genious” and at “personal financial risk” was able to transform a small and “bankrupt” state company into a “profitable” airline of the “five continents”.During the time that Onassis bought the state airline,he said that “…Olympic Airlines was the biggest financial investment which has been made from the time of Kolokotronis(one of the founding fathers of the modern greek state) until Karamanlis(the then Prime Minister of Greece…” (trans.from greek)(p.1.www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=79444).To complete this “virtual reality” view of “olympic Airlines” as has been passed on by Greece΄s mass media for years,and naturally we Greeks have been most willing to accept(due to the aesthetics of our lives),I will provide a quote from a greek article written by Christianna Loupa,entitled “Olympic Airlines:From zenith to nadir”,put out on the Internet by “Greek News”,the greek-american weekly newspaper published in Greece.She says the following:”…Nevertheless,the air company very soon reached the heights,since the financial mogul was not afraid to put money into the company,as he wanted “his company” to be the best in the world.It is widely known that everything that Onassis took charge of turned into a goldmine.The air fleet multiplied in numbers,the services were exceptional,the flights were extended to all parts of the Globe,and his dream became a reality…”(trans.from greek)(p.1. www.greeknewsonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=art…).
Within the context of Greece΄s Economic Realities, the social group of Greek Shipowners always held a privileged position in the elite class of the country,especially before the more democratic political changeover of 1974,when the unconstitutional government of the Greek Colonels fell.In Greece,when we talk about an “elite class”,we refer to a particular social class which has the “means” and the “political culture” to control and define not only Greece΄s economic course but also its political one.As a consequence,Aristotle Onassis,as one of the most powerful greek shipowners,had the social status and the leverage to influence governmental policies,and this he undertook most effectively when it came to the various agreements he made with the Greek State concerning the various activities and functions of Olympic Airlines. At this point,we have to mention that the original agreement which had been agreed upon and signed by Aristotle Onassis and the Greek State,was amended 12 times during the 18 years that Olympic Airlines had been under the onwership of Onassis, as he continually extorted from the Greek State and the various Greek Governments more state privileges and more financial exemptions;constantly threatening the closure of the airline,which meant thousands of its employees would be out of work (p.3.www.sek-ist.gr/EA/home.php?article_ID=976).The second critical information that we should mention is the fact that on paper,”Olympic Airlines”represented a private enterprise owned exclusively by Aristotle Onassis,but in actuality it was a company which was state-subsidized and state-affiliated as was described by a greek representative to the European Parliament,Dimitris Papadimoulis in 2005,talking about the financial prospects of the airline.Dimitris Papadimoulis is a member of the greek socialist party of Synaspismos.At that time,he also stated that when “Olympic Airlines” was under the ownership of Aristotle Onassis,it was not a profit making company(p.2.www.syn-europe.gr/index.php?cata_id=8&catb_id=&Datain =…). This last fact can be verified,once the “official yearly balance -sheets” of the company are checked.These show that the airline company under the ownership of Onassis never showed any net profit (p.2.www.sek-ist.gr/EA/home.php?article_ID=976). It is said that Onassis had a “formula” for financing his ships which he called it AAX in greek(in greek the word which sounds like aach(german sound of ch), is used as an exclamation for a feeling of relief),taking the first letter of the three inpidual greek words,words which translate into “Other People΄s Money”(p.8.www.rodosport.gr/enlefko/onasis.htm)This is exactly the “formula” that he used in running Olympic Airlines,with the only difference that in this case,the “Other People΄s Money” represented the money of the Greek State,meaning the money of the Greek Peoples that he so “adored”!!! Let us now examine the “preferential terms” under which Olympic Airlines functioned during Onassis,being the sole national airline of Greece.Through it ,we will also come to witness the “predatory” and “voracious” disposition of Aristotle Onassis towards the Greek Peoples until the end of his life,which was in 1975.
First of all,Olympic Airlines had a monopoly on all airplane technical maintenance which was in demand within the greek state,while it also had the exclusivity in servicing all airplanes which landed on greek soil.Olympic Airlines was the sole carrier of greek air postal services within the country and abroad.It was the only company which was responsible for the catering of all greek airports as well as supplying them with all vital materials in maintaining them.Olympic Airlines was the official state representative who gave all the permits for foreign “Charter Flights” bringing to Greece foreign visitors who wanted to vacation in the country.For this profitable “set-up”,Olympic Airlines and of course Onassis received 100 million drachmas from the Greek State each year(p.4.www.sek-ist.gr/EA/home.php?article_ID=976).
Aristotle Onassis was able to extract from the greek state and the greek governments many exemptions and tax-reliefs using Olympic Airlines.Some of the most important ones were the following:There were no airport dues for all the airplanes of the company.There were no state charges for the use of state telecommunication,metereological and radar services provided to the airplanes of Olympic Airlines.There were no leasing payments to the state for the use of open or covered spaces in all greek airports utilized in servicing the airplanes of the company.No duties were paid when the airline company imported to the country fuels,transport vehicles,cars,spare parts and office equipment.On the greek island of Scorpios,the permanent residence of Onassis in Greece(he owned it),the tens of luxurious cars which were used by Onassis and his entourage,belonged to Olympic Airlines and were imported to the country “duty-free”,while the fuel which was used to make those cars run was charged to Olympic Airlines.Finally,all travel offices of Olympic Airlines within Greece and especially around the world, were used by Onassis as branch offices for his shipping enterprise,”Olympic Maritime”(p.2-3.www.sek-ist.gr/EA/home.php? article_ID=976).
Getting now to the “crux” of this whole “predatory” set-up ,we should mention that Aristotle Onassis playing on “Olympic Airlines” as a “scape goat” or as a “pressure point”, he was able to extort low interest loans from the Greek State, threatening the various greek governments that he would initiate mass lay-offs in his airline company,knowing full well that unemployment in Greece was very high.Here we should pause once again,and look at the messages of “virtual reality” communicated by Greece΄s mass media concerning the “condition” of Aristotle Onassis after the tragic death of his son Alexander,at the age of 25.These messages say that “…his tragic death,on January 24,1973,set in motion the process of selling Olympic Airlines back to the greek state.Onassis shattered by the loss of his son,had been constrained to sell off Olympic Airlines on January 1,1975…”(trans.from greek)(p.3.www.armoniaradio.gr/modules.php?op=modload&name=New…).
Are we really serious now???In 1974,Onassis forced a “lock-out” of his employees at Olympic Airlines,askng the newly elected democratic government of Konstantinos Karamanlis(after 7 years of military rule) a state subsidy of 45 million american dollars for Olympic Airlines.”…On December 10,1974,as a good businessman,he sent an extrajudicial statement to the greek government,rejecting the agreements he had made with the greek state and announcing his decision to “close down” Olympic Airlines…”(trans.from greek)(p.3-4.www.sek-ist.gr/EA/home.php?article_ID=976).The Prime Minister of Greece did not accept being blackmailed by Onassis and decided to once again turn the company into a state airline.As we can see,this “shattered” father,who did not have anymore the strength nor the enthusiasm to involve himself with his various enterprises,especially with “his girl”,”Olympic Airlines”,whom “he loved so much”,was able after 1 year of his son΄s tragic death,to pressure the greek government for financial aid for his airline,initiated a complete “lock-out” of the company and forced the Greek State to nationalize it,eventually buying it from Onassis.When Aristotle Onassis transfered “Olympic Airlines” back to the Greek State,the company showed a deficit of almost 1 billion drachmas(300 million american dollars then)(p.2.www.sek-ist.gr/EA/ home.php?article_ID=976). Soon,this “devastated” and completely “drained” father but also “modern businessman”(Neanderthal), received 68 million dollars as “compensation” from the Greek State and of course from the Greek Peoples for the sale of the airline company (p.1.www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=79444). Not really such a bad deal!!!
Aristotle Onassis died a few months later,on March 15,1975. Trifon Koutalidis,a renowned greek lawyer, who served as the main legal advisor to Aristotle Onassis and later on to the Greek Prime Minister,Konstantinos Karamanlis,has written in his book “The lawyer”(written in greek),that once, when Onassis his “boss” was referring to Olympic Airlines he said the following:”…Olympic Airlines is like a bucket of shit which we constantly add to it.When it starts to overflow,and the stench becomes unbearable,we will give it back to the government…”(trans.from greek)(p.1.www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=79444). Unfortunately,this shit was consumed by the Greek State and the Greek Peoples whom Onassis so “adored” and “loved”!!! Hurrah to all that “Greek Spunk”!!!!
*amorality-having no moral standards at all