A historic airplane from the former Olympic Airlines fleet has been brought back to life and is now on display at Hellinikon, a coastal suburb in southern Athens.

Named “Mount Olympus Boeing 727”, the aircraft was owned by Olympic Airlines, founded by business magnate Aristotle Onassis, and purchased in 1968 to expand the company’s fleet. Since 2001, Mount Olympus has remained abandoned at the old Hellinikon airport. In 2023, air charter group Zela Aviation acquired the aircraft and assumed the costs of its restoration, with the aim of preserving Greek aviation heritage

“I wanted to preserve these planes for our children and grandchildren to remember,” said Zela Aviation’s founder, Andreas Christodoulides, at a recent event unveiling the aircraft to the public.

Hellinikon’s aviation history

The Municipality of Hellenikon-Argyroupolis backed the initiative due to the historical ties of the area with Olympic Airlines and the domestic aviation industry. As a result, the local authorities approved the relocation of the aircraft to a specially designed outdoor area adjacent to Vouliagmenis Avenue.

The area’s aviation connection traces back to 1938 when construction began on Greece’s first airport. It marked a pivotal moment, initiating foreign investment in the Greek economy.

In 2001, Hellinikon Airport closed its doors, relocating operations to the modern facilities of Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”.

A tourist attraction expected to boost the local economy

The Mount Olympus aircraft, set to become a unique tourist attraction, will showcase the nation’s aviation legacy. Officials anticipate numerous benefits for the municipality, expecting it to enrich the area’s tourism offerings and stimulate the local economy.

“The presence of Mount Olympus in Hellinikon embodies our country’s aviation history and links two significant landmarks: Olympic Airlines and the Hellinikon airport,” said Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Staikouras at the aircraft’s unveiling ceremony.

“It’s more than just an exhibit; it’s a living monument to Greek aviation history and will mark a significant milestone for the municipality,” he added.

The history of Olympic Airlines

Established in 1957 under the original name Olympic Airways by the renowned Greek business magnate Aristotle Onassis, Olympic Airlines served as the former flag carrier of Greece.

Throughout the 1960s, the airline experienced rapid expansion, facilitating connections between Greece, Western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. However, following a tragic airplane crash involving his son, in 1973 Onassis transferred ownership of the company to the Greek State.

Today, the company operates under the new name “Olympic Air”, overseen by Aegean Airlines.

In addition, Christodoulides announced on the sidelines of the event that another historic aircraft will be unveiled in September, displayed alongside Lavrio’s city harbour. This aircraft, formerly part of the Cyprus Airways fleet, was generously donated to the Lavrion municipality by Zela Aviation.

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