By Constantinos Psillides
The Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light to the finance ministry to proceed with acquiring the services of advisors on how to set up a new airline, that will use the logo and name of Cyprus Airways.
Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos told the press that the cabinet approved a proposal tabled by the finance ministry, and authorised Privatisations Commissioner Constantinos Herodotou to open up tenders for legal and financial advisors.
The advisors are expected to set up an action plan for establishing a new airline, in partnership with the private sector.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has repeatedly stated that the new airline will be privately owned.
According to Papadopoulos, “following the closure of Cyprus Airways, the cabinet deemed the setting up of a new company as urgent, in order to ensure that Cyprus maintains its accessibility to other countries.”
Communications Minister Marios Demetriades said on Friday that the island’s connectivity to the rest of the world had been ensured via other airlines for at least a year.
Already other airlines are stepping in to fill the gap left behind by Cyprus Airways. Romania-based low cost airline “Blue Air” will be setting up a base in Cyprus while Aegean Airlines announced on Tuesday that it would expand its operations significantly, aiming at tripling its market share in Cyprus.
The deputy government spokesman pointed out that actions to utilise the Cyprus Airways brand name and logo – which the state bought for €1.2 million last month – must be immediate. “The logo’s worth could decrease as time goes by,” he explained.
Due to the pressure of time, the cabinet approved a €134,000 fee for each advisor.
Cyprus Airways, the island’s national carrier for 67 years closed down last Friday after a decision by the EU commission declared €102 million given to it in state aid was illegal, ordering the company to return €66 million.
Unable to do so, the company was deemed unviable and ceased all operations immediately.