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Aegean, Ryanair Eye Cyprus Airways

NICOSIA – Troubled Cyprus Airways is being courted by Greece’s Aegean Airlines and Ireland’s budget carrier Ryanair who have expressed interest in acquiring the island’s national carrier.

Sources told Kathimerini that Aegean has chosen to participate in this part of process as it does not have a binding character, and, as Aegean officials said, ‘We have no reason to stay out of the procedure.’

The Cypriot government had set July 22nd as the deadline for expressions of interest in Cyprus Air after issuing an open invitation for interest leading to prospective bids for the airline, 93 percent of which is owned by the government.

The battle for the Cypriot airline is expected to be fierce as several companies outside the European Union have also expressed an interest, attracted by the European airport slots that Cyprus Airways has and the capacity to operate flights to and from most of the major European terminals.

Ryanair will probably submit an expression of interest, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said.

The Cypriot government in mid-July invited non-binding expressions of interest in its shares or assets in Cyprus Airways, which has posted heavy losses for years.

“We want to see if we could help the government come up with some rescue package even though it might be too late,” O’Leary told reporters in Nicosia.

The Cypriot airline has been selling assets to keep afloat, including slots at London’s Heathrow airport.

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