Cyprus Mail

Cyprus Airways says plan B is for its privatisation

CYPRUS Airways (CY) board chairman Antonis Antoniou said on Tuesday that plan B for the national carrier was privatisation if the European Commission rejected the application for state aid.

Meanwhile, internal investigations are underway looking into possible bad management, it was confirmed yesterday.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Antoniou said if Brussels refused to approve the restructuring plan tabled by the airline, then plan B would involve radical changes to the shareholding of CY, in effect, the full privatisation of the national carrier.
Antoniou expects an answer from the Commission within a month and a half.
Regarding the two internal investigations underway, Antoniou said the board was looking into a whole range of issues, including “a host of contracts” where there is suspicion that taxpayer’s money was wasted.
Pilots union PASYPY head Petros Souppouris confirmed that the airline had launched two internal investigations into flights to Athens and a specific charter flight.
Communication Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos warned yesterday things are not easy for the airline, but that the government and board intended on battling for the company’s survival.
According to the minister, company losses have been reduced by ten million euros in the past four months.
The airline posted losses of €55.8m for 2012, doubling its 2011 losses of €23.9m.
Mitsopoulos said that in seven months the government has done things that should have been done five years ago and has implemented a restructuring plan prepared a long time ago.
The government, he added, has given tens of millions to support the national carrier and has hired a large legal firm in Brussels as the European Commission is expected to rule whether the company’s restructuring plan is considered a state subsidy and is permissible or not.
“We get some encouraging messages that if we continue with consistency we could potentially put the company on a growth path in 2014,” Mitsopoulos said.


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