Cyprus' national airline to shut after breaking EU rules

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Officials say Cyprus' national airline will lose its operating license and stop flights after the European Union ruled that it had illegally received tens of millions of euros in state aid.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and Communications Minister Marios Demetriades said Friday that Cyprus Airways will cease operations right away and that an administrator will be appointed to wind down the company.

The European Commission ruled that money-losing Cyprus Airways, which is nearly 94 percent government-owned, must pay back over 65 million euros ($76.78 million) out of a 103 million euro ($121.67 million) state aid package it received in 2012-13.

The ministers said the government will cover the cost of Cyprus Airways ticket holders who either wish to be reimbursed or make alternative travel arrangements.