Min­is­ter sees no se­ri­ous in­ter­est in Cyprus Air­ways

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

NICOSIA (AFP) – The Cypriot gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day it has yet to re­ceive any se­ri­ous in­ter­est in Cyprus Air­ways, four months after launch­ing a search for in­vestors in the strug­gling air­line. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Mar­ios Deme­tri­ades ap­peared to dis­miss in­ter­est from Ire­land’s Ryanair and Greece’s Aegean Air­lines, which have been hold­ing talks with his gov­ern­ment. “It was an open and trans­par­ent process which, un­for­tu­nately, showed that there is no sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est,” Deme­tri­ades told re­porters. “We have stated that we are ready to lis­ten in the event that there is a se­ri­ous in­vestor for Cyprus Air­ways,” he added. Bud­get air­line Ryanair and Aegean were the re­main­ing suit­ors from an ini­tial list of 14 when the process was launched in July. The in­ter­ested par­ties are re­port­edly con­cerned about a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in- ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine if the Cypriot gov­ern­ment breached EU state aid rules through its support for the air­line. Deme­tri­ades said there was a “dan­ger” the air­line could be forced to close if the EC de­cides Cyprus broke the rules by giv­ing it with a 31mil­lion-euro cap­i­tal in­crease and 73-mil­lion-euro res­cue loan. The Cyprus Air­ways board was work­ing on a backup plan which re­port­edly would see the car­rier re­duced to three air­craft and its staff cut to 230 from the cur­rent 560. “The po­si­tion of the gov­ern­ment is that a strate­gic in­vestor is needed but the re­sults of the company at this time are not sat­is­fac­tory and it can­not be char­ac­ter­ized as vi­able. So we need a strate­gic in­vestor,” said Deme­tri­ades.

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