By Constantinos Psillides
Cyprus Airways has sold its moufflon logo and airline branding for €1.2m to the government.
In an announcement to the Cyprus Stock Exchange, CY said the deal was signed on Thursday.
“Cyprus Airways informs investors that on December 4, it signed an agreement for the sale of its logos, trademarks and brand rights to the government of the Republic of Cyprus for the amount of €1.2 million,” the announcement said.
“In accordance with the sale agreement, the consideration may increase upon the completion of a new evaluation.” The logo has been sold for 10 years, with an option for renewal.
The decision sparked a reaction from pilots’ union PASYPI. It issued a statement asking again for the resignation of Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and Communications Minister Marios Demetriades, claiming that they planned to sell off the company to the highest bidder, not rescue as they were claiming.
PASYPI opposes selling the logo to the government saying that business transactions involving Cyprus Airways shouldn’t be carried out while Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides is in the middle of a probe on the procedure followed by the government to find a strategic investor.
PASYPI also blames the ministers’ statements on Cyprus Airways for hurting ticket sales, arguing that they should pay for the loss of profit off their own pockets for causing the cancellation of reservarions.
Meanwhile, DISY MEP Eleni Theocharous sent a letter to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, asking him to give the ailing carrier one last chance, arguing that the airline suffers losses due to Turkey’s air-space ban on Cyprus although the state has compensated the carrier for that.
The viability of Cyprus Airways is key for the EU to approve the ailing airline’s restructuring plan but as things stand it will not be given the green light.
But the Commission has not yet issued an official decision asking the airline to return the various monies it received in state handouts as that would mean certain closure.
The Commission is said to be avoiding the decision, waiting for either the restructuring plan to be amended in a way that would make the company viable or for the airline to close by itself.
A restructuring plan has been sent to the Commission, but it has not been fully implemented yet as it calls for more job losses, around 320 from a total of 560, and further cuts in benefits.
An investor must be found to boost the company’s chances to survive.
A plenary debate slated for Thursday on the fate of Cyprus Airways was postponed, until the auditor-general completes his investigation into whether procedures involving the seeking out of strategic investors were above board.
The probe includes the extent of the involvement of the law firm founded by President Nicos Anastasiades. It will be looking into whether the President had any direct or indirect involvement in the process, with respect to the connections between Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners, the law firm founded by Anastasiades, and Ryanair, one of Cyprus Airways’ suitors.
By Constantinos Psillides