DUBLIN, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Ryanair has moved a step closer to making an offer to buy Cyprus Airways and may make a firm offer early next year if this is approved by the Cypriot government.
The airline’s decision follows a meeting between Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O‘Leary last Friday with the Cypriot government, which owns more than 90 percent of Cyprus Airways.
“Ryanair is planning to make a non-binding offer on Friday as a result of a positive meeting last week,” Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said. He said a couple of months of due diligence would be required before a binding offer was possible.
Ryanair was among nearly 20 companies which last month submitted non-binding expressions of interest in the airline, which has been loss-making for years despite several attempts at a turnaround.
Ryanair said last week it could boost the airline’s passenger numbers to 3 million per year from 600,000 currently, down 50 percent from peak.
Ryanair has only ever taken over one other airline, Buzz, which was absorbed into the Ryanair brand. (Reporting by Conor Humphries. Editing by Jane Merriman)