Hellas Jet, a creation of Cyprus Airways, continues its search for a buyer after Dutch and British buyers backed out of a possible purchase agreement. Press reports say the airline will be forced to shut down.
The same reports say that the deal with the Dutch group, which included discussions with both the airline’s board of directors and representatives of the Cypriot government, had been almost finalized but the required down payment never appeared.
If the airline does close down as expected, Cyprus Airways will have to write off a loss of some 15 million euros, says a Cypriot newspaper report. When founded in June of 2003, the airline was 49%-owned by Cyprus Airways. Omega Bank owns 26% and a subsidiary of Alpha Bank the remaining 25%.
Hellas Jet is based at the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos, from where it began flights in the summer of 2003 to four major European destinations. The company’s strategic plan anticipated the addition of new medium-haul destinations within two years. And it had hoped to tap into an expected surge in traffic in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Hellas Jet had signed a partnership agreement (code-share) with SN Brussels Airlines. According to the agreement, Hellas Jet operates all scheduled flights of the two airlines between Belgium and Greece. Hellas Jet started with brand new Airbus 320 aircraft in its fleet (16 seats in Business Class, 132 in Economy Class.
To cover domestic flights, Hellas Jet signed an agreement with Aegean Airlines that enabled the new carrier to offer through-flights at one low-price ticket from the Greek islands and other locations to European destinations.