The Cyprus-based airline Cobalt Air has announced that they have canceled all of their flights and suspending all of their operations indefinitely, with a warning for customers not to go to the airport even if they have booked flights, reports The Guardian.
Cobalt entered into business in 2016 and primarily focused on flying guests to and from the country of Cyprus, but included 23 other destinations that included Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, and Manchester airports in the United Kingdom. The announcement of the cancelation came at 11:50 p.m. GMT on Wednesday night, leaving many travelers on Thursday unaware that their flights were not going ahead.
In a statement the airline released later to the Cyprus Mail, Cobalt revealed that they were unable to secure long-term funding and thus forced to call in the administrators.
The statement read, “It is with great regret that we must inform you that Cobalt Air will cease all operations at midnight on 17 October 2018 and enter into administration process, after two years and three months of operations. [It] is a sad day for all the employees and passengers of Cobalt Air. The company has been working relentlessly during the past months to secure the long-term financing of the airline.”
Breaking: Cobalt Air ceases operations, all flights grounded from midnight https://t.co/SeFNsVYW6O
— International Flight Network (@FlightIntl) October 17, 2018
Vasiliki Anastasiadou, the transport minister for Cyprus, has given his support to everyone that has been left stranded in the country or without a flight to get in and vowed to provide state support in rectifying the situation. Anastasiadou added that he would soon announce a phone number the stranded can use to have the issues personally taken care of.
Cobalt isn’t a singular case for smaller airlines in Europe, as Denmark’s Primera Air met its demise earlier in October and the United Kingdom’s Flybe warned of rising losses on Wednesday, citing a drop in customer demand paired with higher fuel prices.
A representative from Heathrow airport in London said, “We will provide assistance to customers who turn up at the airport.”
Cobalt has recommended to its customers with unused tickets not to go to Cyprus’ Larnaca airport or any other airport where they would be flying to Cyprus because there would be no Cobalt flights taking off, as well as no staff of the airline present.
The airline, which was is the largest in Cyprus, also advised customers to make contact with their credit card provider or travel agent in order to secure refunds.
Cobalt Air was created after the collapse of the state-run Cyprus Airways in 2015. It consisted of six aircraft and a staff of 200. It has yet to be seen how many travelers have been affected.