The agreement for the sale of Olympic Airways was signed last week by the Greek government and the Marfin Investment Group in Athens.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that the sale of Olympic Airways marked the end of the Greek taxpayers having to carrry the burden of subsidising the airline while Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said ‘today is the cornerstone of this long and arduous effort that lasted 18 months.

“The sixth effort to privatize Olympic has been successful, unlike the previous five.”

Marfin won bids for all three branches of the company — flight operations, technical maintenance and ground handling services.

“We did our duty,” Marfin vice president Andreas Vgenopoulos said. “For us, it was inconceivable that Olympic might cease to exist.”

The process will be completed in October, if ratified by parliament next month.