Air Transport World

Marathon man.

British Airways transplant Rod Lynch has a long way to go to clean up the mess at Olympic Airways

Rod Lynch, the affable Scotsman put in by Speed-wing, British Airways' consultancy arm, to run ailing Greek national carrier Olympic Airways, doesn't speak Greek. But he says he already recognizes the epithet used by the carrier's militant trade union members to describe him.

Speedwing's winning of a $14 million, three-year contract-with an option of a one-year extension-from the Greek government to turn Olympic around produced reactions verging on hysteria in Athens. "British coming in to take over Olympic" was the theme in the local press. Several of Olympic's 18 unions staged two one-day strikes in protest, and Lynch had to be smuggled in and out of meetings up the back stairs to avoid demonstrations.

Lynch was grilled for three-and-a-half hours by a Greek parliamentary committee on his plans for Olympic before BA finally was allowed in. With a touch of granite-like Scottish humor, he said, "This is a challenge which any airline professional would relish. …

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