Following an order from the European Commission to repay over 100 million euros it had received from the Cypriot government as aid payments during 2012 and 2013 Cyprus Airways has collapsed today with immediate effect.
The European Commission ruled today that €102m in government support given to Cyprus Airways in 2012 and 2013 constituted illegal state aid. As the national carrier cannot afford to return the money its operations have been suspended.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades told reporters administrator will be appointed for the airline and its operating licence will be revoked. He said:”The company has ceased being a viable entity, and cannot continue to operate,” He also said there would be alternative arrangements covering Cyprus Airways flights from Saturday.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented:
“Cyprus Airways has received large quantities of public money since 2007 but was unable to restructure and become viable without continued state support…injecting additional public money would only have prolonged the struggle without achieving a turn-around,” she said in the statement.
“Companies need to be profitable based on own merits and their ability to compete and cannot and should not rely on taxpayer money to stay in the market artificially.”
Almost immediately, Ryan Air has announced “rescue fares” for stranded passengers from €49.99 Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “Cyprus customers can avail of these Ryanair rescue fares, starting from just €49.99, and should log onto the Ryanair website, with fares from Athens and Thessaloniki (to Paphos) starting at just €49.99, and fares from London Stansted to Paphos at just £69.99, on the Ryanair.com website”.