A new, independent, Cyprus-based charter operator, Capital L Airlines, is to begin operations from the island after the Cypriot civil aviation authority's approval of a one-year operating license.

The airline, a subsidiary of tour operator Louis Tours, will launch charter flights from European points to Larnaca and Paphos on 1 January, 2000, with three leased 170/200-seat aircraft. The type is yet to be decided, but is likely to be between the Boeing 737/757 and Airbus A320 family.

Capital L will be the first Cypriot-registered charter operator. Under the licence agreement it is not allowed to compete with scheduled carriers Cyprus Airways and its subsidiary, Eurocypria. Louis Tours says: "We may even co-operate with them-we're not breaking any monopoly, since more than 80 charter airlines already serve the island".

The airline says that Cyprus' skies will be deregulated in around three years, after it has joined the European Union. "Then we will consider starting scheduled services if it seems likely to be profitable." Louis Tours is involved in passenger handling and airline representation at Larnaca, "-so we know how to run an airline".

Source: Flight International