By Constantinos Psillides
CYPRUS Airways (CY) chairman Tony Antoniou said yesterday that finding an investor is crucial for the long-term survival of the national air carrier.
The recent sale of the airline’s last time-slot at London’s Heathrow airport for €22.7m has boosted the company’s liquidity for 2015 and has secured time for the government to contact strategic investors to help the company survive, Antoniou told the reporters after a meeting with EVROKO leader Demetris Syllouris.
He appeared optimistic that “there are many political arguments to convince the European Commission that Cyprus Airways must continue”.
The Commission is set to rule on whether capital injections from the government to the airline constitute state aid, forbidden by EU competition rules.
“Any alternative plan which could perhaps be implemented in case the EC disapproves the restructuring plan, is handled by the Council of Ministers,” he said.
Antoniou noted that an investor is necessary even if the Commission approves the plan with an answer expected by October.
The need to find a strategic investor was also voiced by Finance minister Harris Georgiades last week, appearing before the House Finance committee. Georgiades had then accused previous administrations for delays in coming up with ways to save CY from bankruptcy.
Georgiades didn’t share Antoniou’s optimism on the chances of securing a strategic investor, wandering before the committee which investor will throw money at a company that may go bankrupt within a few months.
Meanwhile, CY board member Costas Hadjipapas resigned on Tuesday, the second to do so within a week.
The first to resign was Marios Hadjigavriel who quit during last week’s session of the parliamentary committee, when he heard that another board member, George Kallis, was being paid for consulting services. Hadjigavriel likened the situation in CY to a Greek tragedy and resigned.
The Cyprus Mail could not reach Hadjipapas for comment.