Time to chime in here. This cut comes as no surprise whatsoever. The route was losing $25 million a year! OA proposed to cut the MEL leg a couple of years ago since that was the primary losing sector (SYD was losing money, but not nearly as much), but the Greek community of MEL begged and petitioned OA to keep flying into the city. That’s Greek politics for you.
Aside from JFK, all the other intercontinental flights are money losers. Canada and South Africa would probably be the next to go. Yes, the Kangaroo route may have had and 80% load factor, but having such a load factor does not necessarily entail that the flight will be profitable. Australia-Greece traffic is mainly VFR, not business.
As for the A340, I was reading somewhere that the EU pressured Greece into buying them. Yes, other EU countries have bought the 777 (France and Britain), but don’t forget that France and Britain do not receive as much EU aid as Greece. I think a 767 would have been much, much better for these routes (except for maybe JFK, but they could do two daily or maybe 10 flights a week) than an A340. Heck, if they waited long enough, they could have opted for the A332, but that was probably too long of a wait away.
And OA still has a 747 or two still around. They used them (an all grey one) this past summer flying into JFK for the increase in summer demand. You couldn’t get a ticket (believe me, I tried) the whole summer.
These comments about unions. None of you guys seem to understand Greek politics -- they’re a mess! I’m Greek and I don’t get them either. Unions run that country; the Socialist party runs the show there. N79969’s hope of privatization will never happen...not if the unions have their way, which is always the case in Greece. Greeks are the worst procrastinators and nothing ever gets done in that country. If it wasn’t for the IOC threatening to move the Summer Games to Los Angeles, then you wouldn’t see the construction madhouse that is going on in Athens right now. As for the new airport, it took decades for it to get done. My uncle was on the airport planning committee. It just goes to show you that crummy politics, procrastination and unions are so inherent in the Greek lifestyle and culture that a scenario like Emirates will never occur. It’s not like the EU fosters this kind of environment anyways...