On this day in 1957, Onassis buys Olympic Airways and the “Golden Era” begins

On this day in 1957, Onassis buys Olympic Airways

Coco Chanel

The glory days of aviation in Greece began on April 6, 1957, when Aristotle Onassis purchased Olympic Airways from the Greek state. The company originally began with domestic flights and gradually grew to become one of the largest airline companies connecting Greece with the world.

*Aristotle Onassis

In July 1956, the Greek State signed an agreement with Onassis, for the exclusive use of air transport in Greece. On April 6, 1957 the company was renamed Olympic Airways, with the first domestic flight starting the same year.

in 1971 a subsidiary airline Olympic Aviation was created to serve the Greek islands on a budget and flights also expanded globally.


In 1972 Olympic also launched new flights in the Greece-Australia market, beginning Boeing 707–320 operations between Athens and Sydney twice a week via Bangkok and Singapore.

Olympic Airways was always renowned for being a stylish, sleek and luxurious service and its aircrew was without a doubt the best-dressed flight attendants in the world. The cabin service was also second to none, with Onassis ordering his staff to use gold-plated serving ware in both Business and Economy Class. Picture fine porcelain, crystal glassware, along with designer uniforms. This was never before seen and definitely left a mark in aviation history.

Leading fashion designers lined up to dress flight attendants and some of the most modern and vogue cabin crew uniforms of all time were made exclusively for Olympic Airways staff.

Olympic Airway
*Jean Desses design

World leading fashion designer of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, Jean Desses, was the first to create a designer outfit for Olympic Airways and this took place between  1957-1966.

Coco Chanel
*Coco Chanel’s designs for Olympic Airways

Fashion icon herself Coco Chanel created a super stylish uniform for the ladies of Olympic Airways between 1966 and 1968.

Olympic Airways
*Pierre Cardin’s aviation-inspired uniform

Olympic Airways

Pierre Cardin then set the scene with a unique looking uniform that was inspired by aviation and became one of the most popular in history. His designs were worn between 1969 and 1971.

Olympic Airways
*Yannis Tseklenis creations

Greece’s own leading designer Yannis Tseklenis launched an exclusive line, which featured maxi dresses, flare pants and white boots between the years of 1972-1976.

However, the death of Aristotle in 1975, eventually saw the Greek State gain Olympic Airways again and that was, of course, the end of the Golden Era, which will never be forgotten.