Ryanair, hoping to expand its presence, reportedly will make a non-binding offer on Aug. 29 for troubled Cyprus Airways, looking to gain Russian and Israeli visitors to the island.
Ryanair has emerged as one of a “handful” of interested bidders for the state-owned business after Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary met with Cyprus’s Transport Minister last week, Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said, the Bloomberg news agency reported.
“We’ve had a positive meeting on both sides and we think there is a good business there to take over,” Jacobs said in an interview. “It gives us access to a really interesting part of Europe that’s going to grow and that part of Europe is easily connected to the Middle East, which is also interesting.”
A more detailed data-collection process will begin if the Cypriot government approves the Ryanair offer, and it could take a “couple of months” to prepare a binding proposal, Jacobs said.
Some 382,000 people visited Cyprus in July, up 5.7 percent from 2013, according to the Mediterranean island’s statistical authority. Israeli arrivals surged 63 percent and Russian visits rose 21 percent. Tourism accounts for more than a fifth of the economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Founded in 1947, Cyprus Airways operates scheduled flights to about a dozen destinations in Europe and the Middle East using a fleet of six Airbus Group NV A320 aircraft, according to its website. The carrier attracts about 1.3 million passengers annually and is almost 94 percent government owned.