By Peter Stevenson
CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday accused Hermes Airports of demanding exorbitant fees for services it did not provide.
Both companies met yesterday after CY was forced to pay Hermes almost half a million euros on Wednesday when one of its aircraft was grounded on the basis of an interim order. The fee of €423,764 was paid and the plane was released but tensions rose during the day with CY and its unions condemning Hermes’ actions.
CY chairman Antonis Antoniou spoke on the public broadcaster shortly before a meeting with Hermes to discuss how the airline was to pay off €3.4m it allegedly still owes.
Most of that amount is part of a fuel through-put fee the airline is contesting.
“We never said we were not going to pay our debts but we have asked Hermes if we can come to some kind of arrangement,” Antoniou said.
According to Antoniou, CY owed €4.4m up until Wednesday when two separate payments totalling €1m were made to Hermes. Of the remaining €3.4m, some €152,000 is owed in interest and almost half a million euros in electricity charges, he said.
Asked whether CY was the only airline which wa required to pay a fuel through-put fee, Antoniou said that all airlines are charged the fee by Hermes and a fee is also charged at other airports around the world.
On Wednesday Hermes released a statement saying that the company did not wish to enter into an unnecessary dispute with the airline. The company reiterated its views and said that the statement was all it had to say on the matter.
“Over the last few years we have shown a large amount of flexibility and understanding towards the airline’s commitments and we need to be clear that we too have our limits which we cannot overstep,” Hermes airports spokesman Adamos Aspris said.
“However, CY’s claims that we have not offered certain services for which we are charging them are completely unfounded,” he said.
Aspris added that it is a well known fact that airport charges are approved by the government and apply to all airlines.