Cobalt, the Cypriot carrier, has suspended operations indefinitely. The airline informed the Cyprus Ministry of Transport on Wednesday 17 October that it would shut down all operations shortly after midnight.
A statement on the airline’s website read: “Cobalt regrets to announce that it will be cancelling all flights as of 23.50pm on October 17, 2018 due to indefinite suspension of Cobalt’s operations.
“As a result, future flights or services provided by Cobalt will be cancelled and will no longer operate.
“Passengers who have un-flown tickets are instructed not to go to Larnaca Airport or any departure airport tomorrow, 18 October 2018 as no Cobalt flights will operate and Cobalt staff will be present.”
The tens of thousands of passengers who have found themselves either stranded in their destination, or in possession of tickets that are now worthless have been advised to contact their travel agent or credit card provider for refunds.
Hermes Airports, which manages Larnaca Airport, stated that along with the Department of Civil Aviation, Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works and other stakeholders it was hoping for a “smooth and best possible operation for the repatriation of stranded passengers.”
News of the airline’s collapse comes barely two years after it started operations in 2016. It was set up with the help of Chinese investors and operated on six leased Airbus aircraft flying from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester to Larnaca, its main hub, and from Gatwick to Athens. It also offered connections to Beirut and Tel Aviv, and served Frankfurt, Moscow and Paris.
The Cypriot carrier is the latest budget airline to run into difficulties. Primera Air went into administration at the start of October and airlines across Europe voicing that they are feeling the pressure of weak demand and the rising price of oil.