Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

New airline will boost island’s connectivity, says minister

By Andria Kades

TRANSPORT communications and works minister Marios Demetriades said he is hopeful that Cobalt Air’s application to operate a commercial airline using Cyprus as a base will be successful.

“Let’s hope that this application will succeed since having this company operating from Cyprus, will improve the island’s connectivity,” he said on state radio CyBC.

The Cypriot registered company submitted the air operator certificate to the department of civil aviation on Monday and may take up to four months to process, he added.

“There has to be experience, preconditions related to the maintenance of the airplanes, but also financial viability that can allow someone to carry out commercial operations,” he said.

Cobalt Air said it planned to launch this year with flights to ten destinations.

“We are establishing a ‘new age’ airline that will be based in Cyprus and will operate regionally and throughout Europe. We believe Cyprus provides an excellent environment in which to develop a new airline for a pan-European market,” chief executive Peter Kelly said in a statement.

The airline promises to have the best attributes from both low cost and full service carriers and if approved, the company’s fleet of aircraft would bear characteristics specific to the island such as ‘Visit Cyprus’ slogans. Originally, the charter company had considered buying assets from now defunct Cyprus Airways, such as the brand name and logo, but proceeded to set up its own operations.

Despite the demise of Cyprus Airways, Demetriades stressed that “connectivity is high, passenger capacity has been replaced and more seats as well as connections have been added,” while there was still more room for improvement.

Demetris Constantinou, a transport ministry spokesperson, did not go into details as to where the company is based even as reports said that the initial equity capital, submitted as part of the application costing €16,500, showed funds came from Europe and Asia.

The executive team has a collective experience of more than 70 years in aviation and one of the board directors is reportedly a Cypriot. Kelly, an Australian national, founded Airological Consulting Group and held several titles such as general manager at Qantas Airways and chairman of Suji.com, an Asia-Pacific online travel agency.

Andrew Pyne, the chief operating officer, has been CEO of four airlines and also brings his managerial experience from British Airways, Avianova, and Cathay Pacific to the table.

Michael Hayden has the title of chief commercial officer and has a past working at Dobrolet, Avianova, Jazeera Airways and EUJet.

Global safety expert Guy Maclean is the head of safety and compliance.
The company is currently recruiting locally for a number of positions.

Demetriades specified that low-cost carrier Ryan Air was not interested in obtaining a local airline licence and that both Ryan Air and Aegean could operate without any restrictions in Cyprus as they had a licence from an EU country.

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