President Refers Open Skies Bill Back to House
In a move guaranteed to upset the opposition's plans to rationalise Cyprus Airways, President Demetris Christofias has sent back an 'open skies' bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week.
An open skies policy aims at liberalising aviation rules to create a free-market environment for the airline industry. But many governments, including Cyprus, legislate to protect their own state airlines from competition. The bill contains unconstitutional clauses and are very politically sensitive, said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.
An open skies policy would mean signing bilateral and multilateral agreements with third countries.
If the bill was not approved by the government, Cyprus Airways could lose the 15 million euros agreed by the House. But this is up to the House of Representatives to decide, said Stefanou.
Another condition demanded by the House was that the board of Cyprus Airways steps down. The president hasn't decided on this issue, said Stefanou.
Last week, the House approved a 31.3 million euro capital increase in Cyprus Airways, on condition that the board step down, that the company restructure, and that an open skies policy is introduced.
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