Lebanon’s MEA said to eye Cyprus Airways deal

Cyprus Airways has been hit by island’s financial crisis and is laying off 500 staff

Middle East Airlines (MEA) is in talks to acquire Cyprus Airways, a source at the Lebanese carrier told The Daily Star.

According to the report, the source did not indicate whether Beirut-based MEA would seek to buy part or all of the EU operator, but that negotiations would reach a decision by the end of May.

“Middle East Airlines is currently negotiating with Cyprus Airways. The details of these talks are highly confidential because both parties signed an agreement not to disclose any details about the progress of these negotiations,” the MEA source told The Daily Star.

The source added that MEA could benefit from Cyprus Airways’ low cost of operation and expand the network of its flights abroad”. They added that MEA’s chairman Mohamad El-Hout had made several visits to the European island to hold talks with Cyprus Airways.

Cyprus Airways, which made a loss of $73.17m last year, has seen its financial standing exacerbated by the country’s deep financial crisis and this month announced its intention to lay off approximately 500 staff.

The airline is 70 percent owned by the government of Cyprus and last year held negotiations with Russia’s Aeroflot in a bid to raise fresh investment in the carrier.

Cyprus Airways currently has a fleet of nine Airbus aircraft and operates a network of 19 destinations from its base at Larnaca International Airport.

No-one from Cyprus Airways or MEA immediately responded to Arabian Business’s request for comment on the report.

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