Monument to Onassis Era: Mount Olympus Finds New Home

Monument to Onassis Era: Historic Olympic Airways Plane Finds New Home

An iconic piece of Greek aviation history is finding new life as a monument to a bygone era. The Mount Olympus, a Boeing 727 aircraft once belonging to Olympic Airways, founded by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1957, has been dismantled after 24 years of retirement. Its destination? A spot on Vouliagmenis Avenue, just a stone's throw away from the Elliniko metro stop.

The Mount Olympus was delivered new to Olympic Airways in December 1968. The plane was part of a larger order made by Aristotle Onassis for Olympic Airways, and it flew for 23 years with the same airline under the registration SX-CBA.

I feel proud of Greece... it is as if I have bought the Acropolis, and I am putting it somewhere for Hellenism to see.

Andreas Christodoulides, new owner of The Mount Olympus

The decision to restore and move the aircraft came from its new owner, Cypriot businessman Andreas Christodoulides, who also acquired another Olympic Airways-era plane, now undergoing restoration in Lavrio.

Christodoulides's admiration for Onassis runs deep, with the entrepreneur likening the acquisition of the planes to purchasing a national treasure.  He sees these planes not just as relics of the past, but as symbols of Greek history and pride.

"I feel proud of Greece... it is as if I have bought the Acropolis, and I am putting it somewhere for Hellenism to see," he said.

The Mount Olympus was one of two aircraft acquired by Zela Aviation, the Air Charter group owned by Christodoulides, after being abandoned at the former Athens International Airport for years

"These airplanes are historic for Greece and Hellenism," Christodoulides remarked. "The Olympic airplanes should be remembered by the world and our children and our grandchildren."

His aim is to restore the aircraft to ensure these pieces of history remain accessible to the public, preserving the legacy of Onassis and Olympic Airways.

Aristotle Onassis, the titan behind the creation of Olympic Airways

Aristotle Onassis, the man behind the creation of Olympic Airways, was not only a titan in the world of aviation but also a renowned entrepreneur. Onassis was involved in various business ventures across different industries, solidifying his status as a prominent figure in the business world. He established the Onassis Group, a powerhouse in oil shipping with Olympic Maritime S.A. at its helm. With a fleet of oil tankers, Onassis capitalised on the post-World War II economic boom, amassing considerable wealth.

Not content, Onassis also ventured into real estate. One of his most notable real estate acquisitions was the island of Skorpios in Greece, which he purchased in 1963. He transformed the island into a luxurious private retreat, hosting extravagant parties attended by influential figures from politics, business, and entertainment. Additionally, Onassis invested in properties in cities like New York and Paris, further expanding his real estate portfolio and showcasing his keen eye for lucrative investments.

Onassis recognised the burgeoning potential of the telecommunications industry, acquiring a substantial stake in the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT) during the 1960s. Through his involvement with ITT, Onassis sought to capitalise on the growing global demand for telecommunications services and technology.

Onassis's diverse business interests and entrepreneurial acumen along with his ability to navigate and succeed in multiple industries contributed to his legacy as one of the most influential businessmen of the 20th century.

A lavish lifestyle

Beyond business, Onassis was renowned for his opulent taste. His lavish lifestyle included a fleet of luxurious yachts, including the iconic Christina O, named for his daughter. Originally a Canadian frigate, Onassis purchased and extensively refurbished the vessel, transforming it into a floating palace replete with extravagant amenities such as a swimming pool, helipad, and lavish suites adorned with exquisite decor. The Christina O became a symbol of Onassis's extravagance, hosting elite guests from royalty to Hollywood celebrities.

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