There is interest in cash-strapped Cyprus Airways by potential investors but they all set the national carrier’s restructuring as a pre-condition, Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos said yesterday.
“No investor is willing to come in and undertake a company’s debt, standing obligations and other pending economic issues that amount to tens of millions,” Mitsopoulos told reporters.
“That is why the board of directors is now trying to put the carrier’s finances in order, to reform and restructure it in the hope that as soon as results start to show investors will express interest,” he added.
Last week, Mitsopoulos said CA’s painful restructuring plan was being implemented with “credibility and consistency”.
He said this was essential considering Nicosia needs the approval of the European Commission on the revised plan that will allow state financial assistance towards the ailing carrier.
A revised restructuring plan aiming for the survival of the national carrier was tabled before the Commission for a review a month ago.
The plan provides for a reduction of the 11-strong fleet to five plus one as a reserve and reducing staff by 50 percent. Nicosia has had no response from the Commission yet.
Asked yesterday whether a fleet of five plus one is sufficient enough to meet demand, Mitsopoulos said: “This is something the board looks into together with the company’s technocrats. They are the ones deciding on the carrier’s requirement.”
Cyprus Airways has reported full capacity of flights over the peak summer season but travellers have complained of poor service at airports and the high cost of tickets.
Complaints were also raised by staff made redundant who referred to “unfair dismissals”.
The Minister said: “I would say that dismissals breed unfairness, it is inevitable. It is unfair for someone working in a company for years and years to be dismissed. But the criteria for the redundancies were set by the company itself.”
And he added: “At least as far as my ministry is concerned, I’m categorical that there was absolutely no interference. And I recall that each department was asked to carry out an evaluation”.
Nonetheless, in the case of a concrete injustice been done, then corrective measures could be taken, he added.
Ten days ago, some 260 staff were made redundant while an additional 200 had left the company a couple of months earlier.
The board has made clear that implementation of the rescue plan – one of many drafted over the years – is a bold but necessary step that will allow the state-owned carrier’s survival.