Nine non-binding business plan proposals have been made for the ailing national carrier Cyprus Airways. The South Cyprus government has been looking for a strategic investor to prevent the airline’s complete collapse, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.
Communications Minister Marios Demetriades has said that nine companies have responded to the procedure initiated by his Ministry, from 14 or 15 who initially expressed interest, including, among others airline companies like Aegean, Ryanair and Israel`s Arkia Airlines.
The deadline for the submission of non-binding business plans expired on Wednesday afternoon and now the Ministry is proceeding with the evaluation of the proposals.
“We are now at the second stage of the procedure to find a strategic investor” with the aim of concluding the evaluation process “within the next few days”, Demetriades stated on Thursday.
At the third stage, he explained, the companies chosen among the nine potential investors – on the basis of their proposals – will be asked to submit binding proposals.
The goal, Demetriades added, is to have a strong, local airline company, which will serve the country’s passengers and will employ as many people as possible.
Finally addressing criticism about “selling out” Cyprus Airways, the Minister noted that without a strategic investor, the company will be forced to shut down in the medium term.
Attracting foreign investors should be the main objective, Demetriades said, adding that the interest shown by foreign companies for the state-owned airline denotes growing confidence in the South’s economy.