Icarus descending: The word Olympic usually evokes visions of top performance, but not if you couple it with airlines. Now a British Airways rescue team, led by Rod Lynch, is at the controls in a bid to get the spluttering Greek flag carrier back off the

Icarus descending: The word Olympic usually evokes visions of top performance, but not if you couple it with airlines. Now a British Airways rescue team, led by Rod Lynch, is at the controls in a bid to get the spluttering Greek flag carrier back off the

by MATTHEW GWYTHER

Any airline that calls its frequent-flyer programme 'Icarus' has obviously got a few problems. Add to that financial losses so great that nobody in its finance department can even get a computer to put a vague figure on them.

Then complement the grief with an angry European Union transport commissioner accusing the airline's management of law-breaking duplicity. Top off this grim mix with an in-flight magazine called Motion and the problems start to look terminal. Welcome to the precarious world of Olympic Airlines, last sighted in a long, slow glide heading for the azure waters of the Mediterranean.

Olympic, the national carrier of Greece, is the basket case among Europe's airlines. Now that previous no-hopers such as Air France, Iberia and Alitalia have started to look quite classy and can arrive on time without the a member of the cabin crew spilling coffee in your lap, the last remaining major state-owned airline in Europe has begun to come under real pressure.

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