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Ryanair to make a bid to buy Cyprus Air

Wednesday, August 27 13:47:48

Ryanair will make a non-binding offer for a major shareholding in Cyprus Airways on Friday, according to reports.

Ryanair has held negotiations with the government of Cyprus, which owns 93.7pc of the carrier and is seeking investors. A decision on whether to make a binding offer would likely come early next year after a period of due diligence, said Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer for the Dublin-based carrier.

"It is an interesting part of Europe that is badly served," Mr. Jacobs said. "We would bring a lot of growth."

The deal would be only Ryanair's second airline acquisition after it purchased discount carrier Buzz more than a decade ago. Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary in the past has said he prefers to let airlines fail and move in afterward to satisfy unmet demand rather than deal with the integration challenges of a purchase.

"You can't always fulfill demand organically," Mr. Jacobs said. A potential deal would provide additional aircraft, of which Ryanair has a shortage, he said.

The Cyprus offer would come as Ryanair is undergoing a broader transformation of its business in the face of strong competition from rivals such as easyJet.

Ryanair today unveiled a business package starting at 69.99 that would bundle the ticket with fast-track service at airports, premium seating and other amenities.

Mr. Jacobs said other efforts are in the works to lure business travellers after Ryanair agreed last year to accept American Express credit cards used by many such passengers. As part of the push, the airline is considering providing passengers access to in-city business facilities that are like airport lounges, he said.

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