Restored former Olympic Airways Boeing 727 goes on display in Athens 

Greek Infrastructure and Transport Ministry

A Boeing 727 that was left abandoned at an airport that previously served as Athens’ main international gateway until 2001 has finally been put on public display, 32 years after it last flew. 

The Boeing 727-200 registered SX-CBA and named “Mount Olympus” has been completely restored and is now on display in Hellinikon, a coastal suburb in southern Athens close to where the former international airport used to be located, before being replaced by Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) in 2001. 

The vintage plane was owned and operated throughout its flying career by Greek flag carrier Olympic Airways. The aircraft was one of six of the type originally purchased in 1968 by Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who controlled the state carrier at the time. It was the first Boeing 727 to be delivered to the airline and was retired from service in 1992, 24 years later. It then remained parked at the airport pending disposal.  

Following the closure of the airport at Hellinikon in 2001, the aircraft was left abandoned gathering dust, alongside a former Olympic Airways 737-200 (SX-BCA), a 747-200 (SX-DAB) plus a Hellenic Imperial Airways BAC One-Eleven (SX-BAR) – the only one of the type to have made it onto the Greek register.  

In 2023, Cyprus-based aviation brokerage firm Zela Aviation acquired the 727 and the One-Eleven and paid for the pair to be restored and relocated with the aim of “preserving Greek aviation heritage”, according to a company statement. 

“I wanted to preserve these planes for our children and grandchildren to remember,” said Zela Aviation’s founder,  Andreas Christodoulides.  

Having undergone a full restoration and repaint, the aircraft was transferred from its parking spot at the old airport site overnight on February 29, 2024, to be reassembled in its new location. Although the aircraft had to be partially disassembled for the transfer, it has since been reassembled and is now standing as a monument to Greece’s aviation heydays and as a new tourist attraction that is expected to boost the local economy. 

Greek Infrastructure and Transport Ministry

“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. 

At the unveiling event, it was revealed that the BAC One-Eleven which has also been fully restored, will be unveiled in September 2024, displayed alongside the harbor in Lavrio – another Athens suburb that was also chosen by Zela Aviation to benefit from having part of Greece’s aviation heritage located within its locale.  

Background to Olympic Airways  

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. The carrier adopted the iconic Olympic rings as its logo, part of an identity that remains synonymous with the carrier to this day.  

Felix Goetting / Wikimedia Commons

Throughout the 1960s, the airline experienced rapid expansion, facilitating connections between Greece, Western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.  

However, following an aircraft accident involving his son, in 1973 Onassis transferred ownership of the company to the Greek State. Nowadays, the company operates under the new name Olympic Air under the stewardship of fellow Greek carrier Aegean Airlines. The carrier currently operates 14 ATR42/72 turboprops plus a pair of DHC-8-100s, the latter of which are used for operations to Greek islands with shorter runways.  

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