Cyprus Airways struck back furiously Wednesday after Hermes, operators of the island’s two airports, obtained an order grounding a jet, allegedly over an unpaid debt of €4m.
Tony Antoniou, the chairman of CA, told a press conference that the act put the survival of Cyprus Airways in direct danger and said it was ‘unacceptable blackmail’ in an effort to collect a disputed sum of money.
CA had already paid the airport company, on time, the sum of €567,000 for airport services and paid out another €425,000 Wednesday so that the plane could be released in order for it to be returned on time to the leasing company that owns it.
He accused Hermes of attempting to place a ‘veneer of legality’ to their actions by sending a bailiff to the CA headquarters early in the morning, after tipping off the press.
Hermes, he added, was exploiting its monopoly position and damaging the viability of the airline.
CA was the biggest user of both airports and he asked how Hermes dared to indulge in such behaviour.