By Angelos Anastasiou
The House plenum will resume its discussion of Cyprus Airways (CY) next week, House finance committee chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said on Tuesday.
Speaking after a joint session of the Finance and Watchdog committees, in which deputies reviewed last week’s update on the progress of seeking a strategic investor to take over the airline, Papadopoulos said the matter will be on the agenda for next week’s plenum, on December 4.
AKEL deputy Aristos Damianou said detailed discussion under conditions of full transparency is imperative, and termed the government’s actions towards the airline as “selling off”.
“The pressing timeframes force us to bring all the material we have gathered at the joint committee session before all deputies at the House’s next plenary session, with a view to addressing all aspects of the issue,” he said.
The Greens’ Yiorgos Perdikis charged that the decision to hold a plenary discussion, instead of coming up with proposals for the salvation of the Cyprus Airways, constituted unjustified demagogy.
“What is needed is not discussions, but a workable proposal,” he said.
EDEK’s Nicos Nicolaides said the resignation of the airline’s board chairman aptly sums up the government’s “complete inability to handle the issue,” and called on the government to act responsibly before the company reaches the point of no return.
He was referring to the resignation of board chairman Makis Constantinides, which was tendered to Finance minister Harris Georgiades on Friday but which only came to light on Tuesday, and was “irrevocable.”
Constantinides, who replaced Tony Antoniou after he resigned in August, had complained last week that although he drafted a last-ditch rescue plan for the carrier, he had not been able to get it board approved as not enough board members showed up to board meetings.
“I was left with the impression that this was no coincidence,” a frustrated Constantinides told the Cyprus News Agency on Tuesday.
Much like his predecessor, Constantinides has had to deal not just with the daunting challenges facing the company, which awaits a decision by the European Competition Commission on whether some €75 million received from the government over the last six years constitutes state aid and must be returned, but also internal opposition by various stakeholders.
CY employees – the pilots’ union by far the most vocal among them – have long opposed a government strategy of liquidating assets and shedding jobs, claiming it is a recipe for the airline’s closure and arguing efforts should focus on securing a positive ruling by the European Competition Commission.
More recently, several board members publicly complained they were being kept in the dark on developments by Constantinides.
By Angelos Anastasiou