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CY sells Heathrow slot to Middle East Airlines

By Staff Reporter

Cyprus Airways has agreed to sell its night slot at London’s Heathrow airport for €6.3 million to Middle East Airlines, it was announced on Thursday.

In a statement issued to the stock market, the company said the deal is part of the restructuring plan submitted to the European Commission, which calls for the consolidation of the troubled airline with a view to becoming commercially viable.

As a result, the statement continues, as of March 25, 2014, Cyprus Airways will operate one flight to and from Heathrow, departing Larnaca at 10 am and landing in London at 1.05 pm – local time – with the return flight leaving London at 2.25 pm and arriving to Larnaca at 9.00 pm.

The agreement follows the airline’s failure to sell one of the two slots in January.

The carrier’s negotiations with Qatar Airways over a reported $20 million (roughly €15 million) sale of the time slot collapsed after the Qataris withdrew, citing a confidentiality clause breached when details of the impending deal were leaked to the media.

The ailing carrier is seeking ways to survive, which include implementation of a restructuring plan, the latest in a series.

It is also faced with more turbulence since the European Commission decided to look into whether capital injections from the Cyprus government constitute state aid, forbidden by EU competition rules.

The EC’s ruling, expected near the end of 2014, will decide whether Cyprus Airways will need to return any capital received from the government.

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