Cobalt, a Cyprus based airline, said it had secured an unspecified amount of capital injection from an unnamed investor based in Hong Kong who is included in the Fortune 500 list, and plans to begin its operations in the spring of 2016 as a low-cost carrier.
“’This broadens our investor base to include both Cypriot and Chinese capital and is a major boost to our plan to launch operations this year as Cyprus’ new flag carrier,” the company’s chairman Gregory Diacou said in an emailed statement on Monday. “This is the first major foreign investment in Cyprus since the events of 2013 and represents a huge vote of confidence in the local economy”.
In the same statement, Andrew Pyne, the company’s chief executive officer said that the closure of Cyprus Airways a year ago resulted in higher fares, created “a vacuum in terms of an airline that put Cyprus first and promotes the island as its home” and led to a reduced “network coverage”.
“Cobalt will build Cyprus into a significant aviation hub capitalising on its advantageous geographic location,” Pyne said adding that the company will also create 500 jobs locally over the next five years.
“We will drive growth in the local tourism sector and, by engaging local companies, we will generate a substantial amount of additional employment as well,” Pyne added. “Initially, Cobalt will be flying from Larnaca to a wide range of destinations throughout Western Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. By 2017 Cobalt plans to add long haul destinations such as China, South Africa and the USA”.