By Angelos Anastasiou
IN THE midst of critical deliberations with potential investors nominally interested in taking over Cyprus Airways, former permanent secretary at the Communications and Works ministry Makis Constantinides was confirmed yesterday as the government’s choice to replace outgoing Tony Antoniou at the helm of the ailing national carrier.
Antoniou had tendered his resignation last Friday following an investigation into various decisions to commission construction work and supplies without following due tender procedure. Though he claimed that circumventing proper procedure was necessitated by the airline’s dire financial state, which called for urgent cost-saving actions, subsequent investigation by the Finance ministry’s permanent secretary deemed such rule-bending “unjustified.” The investigation did conclude, however, that there had been “absolutely no indication” that Antoniou had ever intended to misappropriate funds.
Prior to being appointed chairman of Cyprus Airways, Constantinides served as executive head at the Mediterranean Flight Safety Foundation, a Cyprus-based non-profit organisation seeking continuous improvement of flight safety in the south-eastern Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern regions.
Following a Council of Ministers meeting yesterday, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said that “in today’s session, the cabinet decided to appoint Makis Constantinides, former permanent secretary at the Communications and Works ministry, to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cyprus Airways.”
The new Cyprus Airways boss will take over at a time of critical importance that is likely to determine whether the company buckles under the weight of its financial woes.
According to Communications and Works minister Marios Demetriades, all parties interested in investing in Cyprus Airways have been invited to submit non-binding proposals by tomorrow. From these proposals, a short-list of candidates with the most attractive bids will emerge, and subsequent negotiations will explore the viability of each.
The Council of Ministers also appointed businessman Marinos Kallis to the position of vice-chairman. Kallis heads a family-owned apparel manufacturing business and is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus, as well as the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
During the same session, the cabinet also appointed Neophytos Neophytou at the helm of the advisory committee to the Electronic Communications and Postal Services Commissioner. Yiorgos Koutsoftas and Athos Demetriou were appointed as committee members.