O’Leary: Ryanair likely to express interest in troubled Cyprus Airways

Ryanair will more than likely submit an expression of interest in troubled Cyprus Airways which is up for sale, CEO Michael O’Leary said yesterday. 

The Cypriot government has invited non-binding expressions of interest in its shares or assets in the state- controlled airline which has posted heavy losses for years.

The submission deadline is today and requires a non-binding expression of interest to consider a potential binding offer.

“We probably will make some expression of interest in Cyprus Airways,” Mr O’Leary said in Nicosia.

“We want to see if we could help the government come up with some rescue package even though it might be too late.”

The Cypriot airline has been selling assets to keep afloat, including slots at London’s Heathrow airport. The state owns 93% of the airline.

Mr O’Leary said he would be meeting with Cypriot tourism and finance officials, where the airline would raise its concerns over the high fees charged by Cypriot airports.

“We would like to grow more, but the impediment are the high costs,” he said, adding that a high cost base had seen Cyprus lose half a million passengers over a five-year period since 2008.

“The place is stagnating,” he said.

Charges at Cyprus’s two airports are double that of an airport in Berlin and are among the highest in Europe, Ryanair said.

Mr O’Leary was in Cyprus to launch Ryanair’s winter schedule. It flies to eight European destinations from Paphos airport.


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