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Cyprus Has a New Flag Carrier

Cobalt Air

Sometimes, in travel, things catch you out. Like (many moons past, I may add) the old belief that British Midland did not interline with anyone.

An email arrived today from Cobalt Air, announcing a new route (a daily service) from Stansted Airport to Larnaca in addition to Birmingham and Manchester (as far as the UK goes) Cobalt Air have, at present, a fleet of 6 aircraft, made up of 2 A319's and 4 A320's, currently flying to 16 destinations which in my book, makes them a bit of a metaphorical one horse airline.

"What happened to CyprAir?" I thought as I read the bit on the Cobalt website which refers to them as: "The New Flag Carrier for Cyprus". I can almost hear your groans from here. Cyprair (aka CY) packed up in January 2015. For some reason, it had escaped my notice. From which, Dear Reader, you may presume that I do not do a lot of bookings to Cyprus.

The CyprAir name went to Charlie Airlines Limited who, I understand, plan to operate a few local services and a service to Tel Aviv. Charlie Airlines is a rather unfortunate name, though it is in a partnership with S7 the Russian Airline, as I can forsee any marketing people struggling not to say: "Fly with us right Charlies". How Cobalt, then, manages to be the "flag carrier" I am not too sure.

The demise of CY bodes not well, of course, for Alitalia. The reason Cyprair went down the tubes was due to the EU rather, the European Commission, deciding that the Cypriot State could not after all, bail CY out to the tune of 104-odd million Euros and the CY must repay the money - effectively finishing off what was, in reality, a very good if misguided, airline.

This ruling would, it appears, bind the hands of the Italian Government, making a state rescue of Alitalia appear impossible. As the Alitalia workforce voted for mass suicide, it would appear that the days of another respected European airline must be numbered.

Further, the pooling of the remaining European airlines into a small number of very large groups does not, I fear, bode well for the customer.

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