DALLAS – Today in Aviation, established in September 1947, Cypriot flag carrier Cyprus Airways (CY) operated its maiden flight in 1948.
The airline was a joint venture between the British Colonial Government of Cyprus, BEA, and numerous private investors.
During the 1950s, the airline expanded its network from its Nicosia (NIC) base to destinations including Alexandria, Amman, Athens, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Hafia, Istanbul, Khartoum, London, Lod, and Rome.
On August 16, 1960 Cyprus gained independence from the UK. This coincided with the Cypriot Government taking majority control of CY with 53.2% of the shares.
In 1974, during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, five of the carrier’s aircraft were caught under fire at NIC. The airport was forced to close, and CY suspended operations while the government organized a replacement facility. A small terminal was built next to a runway in Larnaca (LCA). Limited operations resumed on February 8, 1975, using a Vickers Viscount.
Boom to Bust
The eighties were a boom time for CY. The airline reached record profits, and over half a million passengers carried each year. Riding this wave the airline continued its expansion plans, focusing on the lucrative UK market.
Sadly, by 2015, CY was struggling financially. Mounting pressure from low-cost carriers led the airline to reduce its fleet and cut loss-making services. Numerous turnaround plans failed, and the Cypriot government put the airline up for sale.
No buyer could be found, and on January 9, 2015 Cyprus Airways flight CY337 from Athens touched down at Larnaca, marking the final flight of this once great airline and the end of 67 years of operations.
Featured image: The airlines final livery was unveiled to mark the arrival of the new Airbus A330 and A319s to the fleet. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons