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Turkish Cypriots plan to launch new ‘national airline’

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The ‘cabinet’ in the north intends to authorise the creation of a ‘national’ airline Turkish Cypriot media reported on Thursday.

The decision was also published in the ‘official gazette’.

Citing Bayrak media outlet, Cyprus News Agency reported that the ‘cabinet’ had decided to authorise the ‘transport ministry’ and the ‘finance ministry’ in the north to launch a ‘national’ airline, which will “contribute greatly to the economy in the north, particularly in tourism and education,” and has ordered for the drafting of a relevant protocol.

‘Transport minister’ Erhan Arikli said the airline would be named ‘Mavi Girne Havayolları’ (Blue Kyrenia Airlines).

He added that initially the airline would have five aircraft, with views to grow even more in the future. He announced that the first flight will be destined for Trebizond.

He also spoke about the preparations being made to launch the new illegal airport at Tymbou (Ercan), saying that test flights will begin on October 29, with three “important flights” scheduled for November 15, the airport’s grand opening, hinting at flights from Russia and a potential appearance by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“We have reached the final preparations to establish our own national airline and are waiting for our company’s aircraft to land on the runway. I hope all three will happen”.

Regarding the rumored start of flights to the north from Russia, Arikli claimed that there is no legal obstacle preventing them from landing at the illegal airport and added that the flight from Moscow can take place.

Arikli also mentioned that the previously good relations between “south Cyprus”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, and Russia were strained after the lifting of the arms embargo imposed by the US on the Republic of Cyprus and expressed the opinion that the landing of Russian aircraft in “TRNC” will contain an important political message.

He added that negotiations are underway with two airlines from Russia and pointed out that with direct flights from Moscow, next year will be productive in terms of tourism. However, Russia has denied that there would be direct flights to the north.

Regarding the status of the illegal airport in occupied Tymbou, the ‘minister’ said that it can be included in the status of Turkey’s domestic airlines and added that there must be political will for this.

The north did have an airline called Cyprus Turkish Airlines that was established in December 1974 with the first scheduled flight taking place in February 1975.

In 2005, the Turkish government sold its shares to and by June 2010, the airline had incurred a $100 million debt. It was decided to sell the company to avoid a bankruptcy but Turkish carrier Atlasjet was the only bidder. By the end of that month, it was announced that the airline had gone out of business.

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