Ryanair has confirmed that it will make a bid for troubled Cypriot airline Cyprus Airways.
It is believed to be making the bid in order to gain traction in the eastern Mediterranean, as part of its business expansion plans, as it believes there is a huge amount of potential in the area. However, the bid is likely to only be for a nominal sum and will be non-binding. Instead, Ryanair's offer will focus on taking the loss-maker off the Cypriot government's hands and the increase in routes to and from Cyprus which will boost tourism and the economy.
Cyprus Airways losses more than doubled in 2012 to €56 million from €24 million in 2011 and the government, who owns 93 per cent of the airline, has tried a number of measures to rescue the airline to no avail. It is now looking to offload it.
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Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has been in talks with the Cypriot government and Cyprus Airways representatives in recent weeks about a potential takeover, but airlines from other EU countries are also in the race.
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing offer said that the Cypriots are, "very keen on Ryanair, we are in 30 markets and can offer them better access to the rest of Europe than anyone else." Ryanair believes it can increase the airlines passengers from around 600,000 to around three million.
After Ryanair submits the initial bid it will be given access to Cyprus Airways accounts and will then decide whether to proceed with a final bid.
The new owner of the airline is expected to be announced by the start of October.