The Tourism Minister of Cyprus has said the next two months will be a “critical time” for the country’s national carrier – Cyprus Airways – as the search continues for a strategic partner to keep it afloat. Speaking to The HUB at the Routes Europe event in Budapest, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Tourism for Cyprus, said: “The next two months will be critical for the airline and we are making every effort to keep them afloat.”
Lakkotrypis said the government was in negotiations “with a number of potential partners” although one prospective buyer, Lebanon-based Middle East Airlines, has reportedly been blocked from bidding by the Lebanese central bank. He also said the government was not just looking for a capital boost for the troubled national carrier, but also for expertise in route and strategic planning to grow the carrier sustainably.
“It depends how they would like to shape it, we are not just seeking fresh capital but also expertise. The potential is great in the sense that tourist arrivals are large and increasing, but Cyprus Airways needs to be flexible in its approach to route planning,” Lakkotrypis added.
In the meantime, Lakkotrypis said the airline board had agreed to a measure cutting staff by 50 per cent and that within a week it would know how people will be taking voluntary redundancy. The Minister also revealed a few destinations he would like to see added to Cyprus’ route map in the future, whether by Cyprus Airways or other carriers.
“As a country we need routes to the Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany and the Ukraine, the UK and Russia are already well developed markets but both are still growing,” he said.
(by Oliver Clark, Editor – Routes News)