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After Cyprus Airways (CAIR) folded in January last year, Cobalt Air applied to the Civil Aviation Department for a Cypriot Air Operator’s certificate. Now, the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of Cobalt Air (Cyprus), Mr. Andrew Pyne has revealed that they are in the final stages of the licensing process. Operations are predicted to begin by the end of April 2016. The company has registered a local company in Cyprus and could become the “unofficial” national carrier to fill the gap in the market left when CAIR ceased trading. Their plan is to develop Cyprus as a hub airport and promote the island as a year round holiday destination; a theme echoed by both the government and the Cyprus Tourist Organisation (CTO). Long haul routes are also envisioned to Asia, India and Africa thus expanding the connectivity of Cyprus to the rest of the world as the company develops.
Mr. Pyne comes with excellent credentials for the post with more than twenty five years’ experience with major airlines including British Airtours, Cathay Pacific, the Russian budget airline Avianova and Macau Airlines.
The company will provide local employment with 90% of the staff so far engaged being Cypriot, and some are ex CAIR employees. Cobalt has initially leased an A320 airbus with plans to expand the fleet to include the A330 airbus as the airline develops into a five or six route network by end of 2017. The airline will also be wooing the business traveller market. At present the company has its office in Nicosia but will be moving to Larnaca. The company will be offering value for money tickets. It is possible that some of CAIR flight rights which have not yet been awarded to other airlines may come the way of this new Cypriot airline. CEO Payne has expressed satisfaction at the support the venture has received from the authorities, who are doubtless aware of the many economic benefits that a Cyprus based airline can offer.
Sources: www.financialmirror.com, digital.philenews.com.
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