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Cyprus Airways name, logo up for sale

[NICOSIA] The Cypriot government decided on Wednesday to try to sell off the name and logo of national carrier Cyprus Airways, shut down last week after breaking EU state aid rules.

Deputy government spokesman Victor Papadopoulos said the aim was to find an investor to create jobs for some of the airline's 550 axed staff and increase the Mediterranean holiday island's connectivity with the outside world.

"Any efforts in this direction must take place as soon as possible as the commercial value of the airline's name and logo will depreciate with the passing of time." Legal and financial advisers are to oversee the sale to private investors of the name and the logo - a mouflon mountain sheep which Cyprus says is native to the island.

A precondition of the sale is that the new airline would be based in Cyprus, although there has been no immediate interest from investors.

The government has pledged that all axed staff of the airline, founded in 1937, will be fully compensated.

Staff scuffled with police on Monday during a demonstration outside the finance ministry in Nicosia in protest at the closure.

The state-owned carrier was closed down on Friday after being deemed unable to pay back over 65 million euros (S$77 million) in illegal state aid as ordered by EU regulators.

AFP