By Peter Stevenson
CYPRUS Airways (CY) chairman Tony Antoniou confirmed on Thursday that an initial agreement with Qatar Airways for one of its timeslots at Heathrow Airport appears to have fallen through.
Antoniou said that there was still no official word from Nyras, the aviation solution company brokering the deal, that the Qatari airline was withdrawing its offer.
“The deal was expected to be signed on Wednesday but it would appear there was an issue of confidentiality,” he said.
He refused to place the blame on anyone for the leak but called on the media to allow the CY board to work without any distraction.
Antoniou said that efforts were continuing to sell the timeslot and that negotiations had started with an airline which had shown previous interest.
“Cyprus Airways will move forward and we expect by the end of the month to make significant announcements regarding possible investments,” he said.
The Gulf airline reportedly turned to a better offer from another cash-strapped aviation company, after details of the €20 million deal with Cyprus Airways were leaked to the local media last week.
Nyras sent a letter to the Cyprus Airways board, scolding them for not keeping the details of the agreement under wraps. The aviation solution company added that Qatar Airways probably had a better deal with a company that sold its timeslot for less money.
The aviation consultant also said that the Qatari executives were put off by the leak, citing a clause in the contract specifically asking for confidentiality by all interested members.
Alecos Michaelides, permanent secretary of the communications and works ministry was the first government official to confirm the deal, appearing on Sigma TV news on January 7. Asked by the reporter to confirm rumors that Cyprus Airways was indeed in the middle of an agreement to sell the timeslot, Michaelides said that “there is an initial agreement for selling the time slot. It will give the company liquidity until summer 2014.”