MAT – Greece crisis deepens

Greece's Ministry of Transport and Communications banned a few months ago the national airline of Macedonia to fly to destinations in Greece due to the name "Macedonian Airlines (MAT)". MAT’s request for obtaining permission to fly in June, July and August to Greek charter destinations was rejected by Greece. “Referring to you letter about tour charter flights in June, July and August 2008, we kindly inform you that we cannot grant permission to the airline under the name of MAT-Macedonian Airlines", reads the response sent by the Greek Transport Ministry. Subsequently, MAT appealed to the European Regions Airline Association, EU Ambassador Erwan Fouere, Air Traffic Committee and Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry and to the Civil Aviation Agency. Furthermore Macedonian President Crvenkovski, cancelled his participation at the Summit of Heads of States of Southeast Europe in Athens due to Greece’s decision to ban the landing of the Macedonian government as the name Macedonia was written on it. The summit is taking place tomorrow in Ahtens.

The economic implications of the MAT ban in Greece will be seen at the end of the year. There is no air traffic between the neighbouring Macedonia and Greece at the moment. A reminder to readers that Macedonian Airlines was created in 1992 as the charter subsidiary of the Greek national airline, Olympic Airways. The Olympic Airways management board decided to rename the charter subsidiary of the Group, Olympic AirTours in 1992 and the Macedonian Airlines brand name was created. The company had nothing to do with MAT Macedonian Airlines, which was founded two years later, in 1994. The Olympic subsidiary is now defunct.