NICOSIA (AP) — Cyprus-based airline Cobalt Air suspended all its operations indefinitely after failing to find new investors to keep it flying, officials said Thursday.
As stranded passengers scrambled to find alternative flights to reach their destinations, Cyprus’ government said it will compensate Cobalt Air ticket holders who fly back to and from the Mediterranean island on other carriers.
In a statement, the Cypriot transport ministry said passengers would be compensated for one-way, economy class tickets on other carriers, adding it would issue further instructions on how they can get their money back.
A senior executive from the airline, Philokypros Roussounides, told The Associated Press that Cobalt’s six Airbus passenger jets have been grounded, although the airline still exists as a legal entity. Cobalt flies to 22 destinations in Europe and the Middle East.
Roussounides said there’s still interest by some companies to invest in the airline because of its successful branding, strong reputation and high level of services.
Roussounides said passengers were eligible for full refunds whether they paid by credit card or made arrangements through travel agencies.
In a statement, Cobalt Air called the suspension of its operations “a sad day” for the airline and its employees after “working relentlessly during the last months to secure long-term financing of the airline.”
“This is an enormous disappointment after the incredible hard work and dedication put into building the airline,” Cobalt said.
Michaelides said the airline’s Chinese backers had given assurances last month that they would continue to finance Cobalt, even if the airline continued to lose money.
But a bid to inject fresh money from new investors failed, forcing the airline to shut down operations, said Michaelides.
Cobalt Air began flying in 2016 in the wake of the collapse of national carrier Cyprus Airways. It was recognized as the best startup airline for 2017 by industry analysts CAPA-Centre for Aviation.
A Cobalt aircraft sits at Larnaca international airport in Cyprus, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Cyprus-based airline Cobalt Air says it has indefinitely suspended all of its operations, Thursday, amid a struggle to find investors. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)