Cobalt receives commercial licence, begins flights on July 7 (Update-2)

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(Updates with chairman comment in second paragraph and CEO comment in fourth paragraph)

By Stelios Orphanides

Cypriot airline Cobalt said that it received its operating licence on Tuesday, 27 days after the Department of Civil Aviation issued the company its air operator certificate.

“This has been a long and at times difficult road but we are delighted that the new wings of Cyprus are now taking to the air,” the company’s chairman Gregory Diacou said. “Cyprus has been without a national carrier for too long. A strong home airline is a vital part of our national infrastructure”.

Diacou’s reference to a national carrier was related to Cyprus Airways, the state-run airline, which ran out of cash in January 2015. Diacou was commenting in an emailed statement.

Ticket sales at the company’s website www.cobalt.aero will commence at 4pm on Tuesday at the same time when the company’s call centres will become operational, the company’s chief executive officer Andrew Pyne said. Passengers in Cyprus can dial 7700001, and the number for those in the UK is 03308080430 (for the UK) while travellers in all other countries can call +357 24000001.

Diacou, the chairman of the airline which already has two aircraft and is expecting the arrival of two more by the end of June, will start flying to a wide range of cities in the UK, Greece, and Ireland on July 7 and will focus its marketing efforts on the UK and Irish markets.

In July, the company will also fly to Beirut and Tel Aviv, subject to allocation of traffic rights by the Cypriot government, Diacou said, adding that Cobalt will also start operating non-scheduled services this week.

The delay in acquiring its commercial licence from the Air Transport Licencing Authority, required by Cobalt to sell tickets to passengers, was related to questions over the ownership of the company’s shares.

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