11 December 2013 13:59

As the European Commission’s crucial decision on cash-poor Cyprus Airways is expected soon, insiders dismissed reports that 10 prospective investors are ‘flirting’ with the national carrier.
“Rumours about investors lining up to pour cash into the ailing carrier are almost comical. A serious investor expresses interest, negotiates with the company and either comes in or walks away,” one inside source told The Cyprus Daily yesterday.
“The truth of the matter is that Cyprus Airways is a ship that is slowly but steadily sinking,” added the insider.
The Commission’s decision is expected early in January, and this means that if they say no to a submitted revised restructuring plan then the carrier closes down immediately.
Because it would have to immediately return millions of aid funds back to the government, something that the bankrupt carrier is financially unable do.
If the answer from Brussels is positive – which is highly unlikely say insiders - then the airline must proceed with a painful restructuring plan and hope for the best. So the aim is to attract a strategic investor.
Nonetheless, CY chairman Tony Antoniou has also talked about Plan B if the Commission’s response is negative.
This provides for the launch of a new carrier registered as Cyprair Tours and a letter is to be sent to Cabinet any day now asking for technocratic assistance.
Antoniou said that a group of technocrats should assist the management in negotiations with possible investors as well as with estimates on the company’s asset value.
The carrier has already cut its fleet to five plus one as a reserve and reduced its staff by 50%.
Last month, Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos said Nicosia would try hard to convince the Commission to say yes to the revised restructuring plan which would enable the troubled airline to survive.
But he had also warned that it won’t be easy to convince Brussels’ because “we have lost our credibility over the years”.



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