Backed by Cypriot and Swiss investors, a new privately owned charter carrier serving the leisure market will start operations from Larnaca, southern Cyprus, next June.

Already licensed by Cyprus, the carrier, Helios Airways, will launch services with a single 170-seat Boeing 737-400 leased from GE Capital Aviation Services. By March 2001, Helios aims to have upgraded its fleet, with the lease of two 189-seat 737-800s. As well as Larnaca, Helios will serve Paphos on the island's west coast.

Helios' chief executive will be Markus Seiler, formerly head of Swiss leisure carrier TEA. Although the majority holding will be Cypriot, the airline expects to draw heavily on Swiss management expertise, according to Seiler.

Meanwhile, new Greek independent airline Galaxy Airways has just launched services from its base in the northern Greek city of Kavala. A Boeing 737-400 has been leased from Flightlease, with a second coming next year.

Galaxy is aiming to link Kavala and Thessaloniki with key European destinations, as well as serving the Greek Islands.

The carrier is backed by Xifias, one of Greece's largest fisheries companies, which holds a 75% shareholding.

Source: Flight International