After years of economic instability, Cyprus Airways collapsed this weekend. The company had activated daily flights from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Laranca. Passengers holding a Cyprus Airways ticket must contact the travel agency with whom the local government reached an agreement. The travel agency will issue alternative flight tickets for passengers through other companies.

Won’t fly any longer: Cyprus Airways aircraft

Won’t fly any longer: Cyprus Airways aircraft Public Relations

Cyprus Airways, the national Cypriot airline, went bankrupt, activating its last flight on Saturday. The company collapsed following the European Union’s demand to return funds lent to the company as aid by the local government, funds without which the company can not operate.

EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager said on Friday that there is no chance that the company can operate without government subsidies and that it must return the funds lent to it in recent years. According to Vestager, the plan presented by the company to rebuild itself was “based on unrealistic assumptions.”   In response, Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades stated that the company can no longer function and will cease operations.

The minister announced that because it is a government owned company, the government of Cyprus will take care of all passengers holding Cyprus Airways tickets, amongst which are many Israeli passengers. The company website directs passengers to a travel agency, which will issue them alternative flight tickets, based on an agreement reached with the government. 

Cyprus Airways was founded in 1947 and was the island’s national carrier for 68 years. For many years, it had operated a flight route from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Laranca, taking off for the last time yesterday. The company went through a crisis when its base in Nicosia Airport was bombed and its aircrafts destroyed during the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus in 1974, but it recovered and later built an alternative airbase in Laranca.

Since Southern Cyprus joined the Europen Union in 2004, the company ran into difficulties, as new low-cost lines to Laranca and Paphos stole customers away from Cyprus Airways and other companies began to take over its routes to Europe. In the last two years, the company’s share of passengers from Southern Cyprus declined from 30% to a mere 10%. The Greek Aegean Airlines announced yesterday that it will operate the route from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Laranca as of the 30th of March, alongside El Al and Arkia.