Cyprus braces for closure of national air carrier

November 14, 2014 11:38 am 

NICOSIA, Nov. 13 — Bailed-out Cyprus says it is bracing to immediately shut down Cyprus Airways, its national air carrier, in case the European Commission's competition watchdog rules against it in an authorized state subsidies case.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Wednesday the government was doing whatever possible to secure the approval of a restructuring plan for Cyprus Airways by the EC Competition Directorate-General.

"This is something I consider to be from very difficult to impossible," said Georgiades, referring to a recent meeting he had in Brussels with the new competition commission Margrethe Vestager.

"If the decision of the Directorate-General is negative, the blow to Cyprus Airways will be instantaneous," Georgiades added.

The island has relied mostly on tourism to help it exit from a deep economic crisis, which forced it to seek a 10-billion-euro bailout (about USD 12.5 billion) in March 2013. Cyprus is heavily dependent on a reliable air carrier to transport both its one million inhabitants and its nearly 2.5 million tourists a year. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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