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Cyprus Airways shuts down after order to repay state aid

Staff writer |
Cyprus' national airliner Cyprus Airways has ceased operations after an EU decision it must repay over 65m euros (£50m) in illegal state aid.

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The EU Commission said the Cypriot government had breached rules on support for struggling companies.

Cyprus Airways has repeatedly received aid between 2007 and 2013. The government, which owns 93% of Cyprus Airways, had searched unsuccessfully for outside investors.

"The company has ceased being a viable entity, and cannot continue to operate," said finance minister Harris Georgiades. He said there would be alternative arrangements covering Cyprus Airways flights from Saturday.

"ollowing an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has concluded that a restructuring aid package of over €100 million for Cyprus' ailing flag carrier Cyprus Airways gave the company an undue advantage over its competitors in breach of EU state aid rules.

"Cyprus Airways therefore needs to pay back all incompatible aid received, which according to the Commission's information amounts to over €65 million plus interest. In particular, the Commission found that Cyprus Airways had no realistic perspective of becoming viable without continued state subsidies," the EU Commission said.

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