Cyprus Mail

CY Heathrow slot sale to Qatar flops after leak

By Constantinos Psillides

CYPRUS Airways was dealt an unexpected blow yesterday, when the deal to sell one of their timeslots in Heathrow Airport to Qatar Airways fell through.

The Gulf airline reportedly turned to a better offer from another cash-strapped aviation company, after details of the 20m euro deal with Cyprus Airways were leaked to the local media last week.

Nyras, an aviation solution company that was brokering the deal between the two carriers, sent a letter to the Cyprus Airways board, scolding them for not keeping the details of the agreement under wraps. Nyras noted that Qatar Airways probably had a better deal by a company that sold its timeslot cheaper.

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.”

CY board chairman Tony Antoniou chastised reporters at a press conference last Friday for leaking the details and told them not to ask the airline’s officials for specifics regarding the deal, “as we are bound by confidentiality clauses.”

Nyras warned that the incident was damaging to the Cyprus Airways reputation and will probably affect future negotiations.

CY officials did not respond to the news. Tony Antoniou, Alecos Michaelides and Communications and Works minister Tasos Mitsopoulos did not return calls seeking comment.

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