Cobalt fleet to in­clude A320s, daily to Tehran

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cyprus-based car­rier Cobalt has signed agree­ments for three Air­bus A320 air­craft, the first of which will ar­rive within a few days, in time for the air­line’s launch to Euro­pean and Middle East­ern des­ti­na­tions by the end of May.

Al­ready, the pri­vate-owned com­pany has hired 20 Cypriot pi­lots, mostly for­mer Cyprus Air­ways per­son­nel, and has so far trained 16 cabin crew at its academy in Lar­naca.

“Our pi­lots were sought out by air­lines all over the world, with their skills be­ing recog­nised among the best in the sec­tor. With the col­lapse of Cyprus Air­ways, they had no choice but to turn to other mar­kets. Now they are com­ing home to build the new na­tional air­line,” said Cobalt’s Chair­man Gre­gory Di­a­cou.

Apart from Cobalt’s Western Europe des­ti­na­tions, Di­a­cou said that there were now firm plans to op­er­ate a daily sched­ule to Tehran this sum­mer.

“We are de­lighted that the govern­ment has been able to ne­go­ti­ate a lib­er­alised air ser­vices agree­ment with Iran. To­day, we are stat­ing our in­ten­tion to take full ad­van­tage of the new rights now made avail­able to Cypriot air­lines. We hope that the govern­ment will soon be able to ne­go­ti­ate lib­er­alised agree­ments with other coun­tries in the Middle East, where a sin­gle mar­ket for avi­a­tion is al­ready in place.”

He added that as the air­line in­creased its in­vest­ment in the Cypriot econ­omy, it looked to the govern­ment and to the air­port op­er­a­tor to pro­vide a level play­ing field for com­pe­ti­tion.

“We are not ask­ing for spe­cial treat­ment - but it should be recog­nised that Cyprus needs its own home air­line. Where for­eign air­lines have se­cured traf­fic rights - and then failed to op­er­ate flights - it is rea­son­able to ex­pect that th­ese rights (which rep­re­sent a vi­tal na­tional as­set) should also come back home to sup­port the Cypriot air­line.” He said that by sum­mer 2017 the Cobalt net­work would ex­tended with the in­tro­duc­tion of long range A330

be air­craft that can con­nect Cyprus di­rectly with des­ti­na­tions in China, In­dia, South Africa and North Amer­ica.

“By the time we launch this spring, we will have trained a to­tal of 60 new crew, the vast ma­jor­ity of which will be from Cyprus. We are also ex­tremely happy and proud to be able to keep our highly trained peo­ple with very im­por­tant avi­a­tion skills in Cyprus,” Di­a­cou said.

“We are pur­su­ing even more air­frames. Our goal is to launch op­er­a­tions to 16 cities, with 5 to 7 air­frames. We will be fly­ing to Greek des­ti­na­tions on a very fre­quent ba­sis, par­tic­u­larly to Athens,” Di­a­cou added.

He said that Cobalt would con­sider es­tab­lish­ing a base in Greece, later on this year. “We feel that we can serve the trav­el­ling pub­lic even bet­ter by bas­ing air­craft at both ends of our key routes,” Cobalt’s Chair­man stated.

“Our ba­sic prod­uct model will be low-cost plus. We aim to treat our pas­sen­gers as val­ued cus­tomers and we will of­fer gen­uine value for money.

“The in­crease in air­fares for flights be­tween Cyprus and Greece over the past year is a ma­jor point of con­cern to the trav­el­ling pub­lic. We will be ag­gres­sive in serv­ing this key mar­ket,” Di­a­cou con­cluded.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.