The Cyprus Finance Ministry and Charlie Airlines, a subsidiary of Russian Air carrier S7 signed on Friday an 10-year agreement for the usage of defunct Cyprus Airways trademarks.
Under the agreement, Charlie Airlines, which has filed an application to receive a local Air Operator Certificate (AOC), will acquire the right to use the Cyprus Airways trademarks for ten years for €2.04 million. Under the contract, the agreement can be renewed for an additional five years.
In statements following the signing ceremony, both Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and Transport Minister Marios Demetriades welcomed the agreement as a very significant development, which would boost flight connectivity in Cyprus and create more jobs in the air transport sector.
Cyprus Airways went into bankruptcy on January 2015, as the European Commission ruled that the state-owned company had to pay back over €100 million of state aid it had received in the past.
“The inevitable closure of Cyprus Airways due to the well-known European Commission decision not only left Cyprus` connectivity with other destinations unaffected but also has opened new opportunities for new companies and moreover has enabled the operation of Cyprus Airways under a new structure, as private company of foreign interests,” Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said.
On his part, Demetriades described the agreement as very positive, noting that Cyprus has moved from state where the air transport sector was loosing jobs to a new situation where the sector creates new jobs for Cypriot citizens.
“And this is very important to underline that all these new companies operating in Cyprus after the closure of the Cyprus Airways have already hired hundreds of local staff,” he said.
He pointed out that air connectivity rose by 15% in the first six months of 2016 compared with an increase of 3.6% in 2015, the year when Cyprus Airways went into bankruptcy.
Demetriades said that Ryan Air, Aegean Airlines and Blue Air operate from Cyprus as their base, noting that the latter two have increased flights since the closure of Cyprus Airways.
“All these companies have hired much larger number of employees than Cyprus Airways before defaulting, especially if we add the aircraft maintenance companies.” he said.
Constantinos Herodotou, Head of Privatisations Unit, which implemented the tender, said under the utilisation plan submitted by Charlie Airlines, the company will begin with flights to three destinations, Britain, Russia and Greece with two airplanes and as the company grow will add more planes and more destinations to their flight programme.