Cyprus’ national carrier has ceased operations following after being ordered to repay over 65m euros (£50m) in illegal state aid by the EU Commission.
The Cyprus national carrier was accused of breaching rules on support for struggling companies.
Cyprus Airways has repeatedly received aid between 2007 and 2013.
The government, which owns 93% of Cyprus Airways, searched unsuccessfully for external investors.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said in the company had ‘ceased being a viable entity, and cannot continue to operate”.
He said there would be alternative arrangements covering Cyprus Airways flights from Saturday.
The carrier issued a statement on its website confirming the Board of Directors of Cyprus Airways has initiated the procedure for ‘voluntary liquidation’.
The statement said: “In the context of the above decision all operations of the company will be suspended as of the close of business today.”
“Cyprus Airways would like to warmly thank the millions of passengers who flew with the airline over the years, for their choice and support.
“Special thanks are also expressed to the staff of the airline as well as its associates, whose professionalism and dedication were always at the
service of the passengers.”
“We are extremely honoured to have made a valuable contribution, over the last 68 years, to the development of the economy of Cyprus and its tourism industry in particular. We have flown the flag of our country worldwide with pride.”
The company confirmed that alternative arrangements have been made by the government of Cyprus for all passengers who have Cyprus Airways tickets, whereby the cost would be undertaken by the Republic.
Affected passengers have been advised to contact travel agency www.topkinisis.com.
Ryanair has responded with the launch of ‘rescue fares’ for customers affected by the collapse of the carrier.
Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “Cyprus customers can avail of these Ryanair rescue fares, starting from just €49.99, and should log onto the Ryanair website, with fares from Athens and Thessaloniki (to Paphos) starting at just €49.99, and fares from London Stansted to Paphos at just £69.99, on the Ryanair.com website.
“Cypriot consumers already choose Ryanair for our low fares, industry leading customer service and great route choice.
“Now they can also book their flights even earlier on our improved website and great new app, carry a free small 2nd carry-on bag, enjoy allocated seats, avail of our new Family Extra and Business Plus services, and use their personal electronic devices at all stages of their flight, as Ryanair continues to deliver so much more than just the lowest fares.” Added Kiely.