'No flights will operate and no staff will be present' - Cobalt Air suspends all operations
The Cypriot airline issued an abrupt announcement shortly before midnight, our Travel Editor reports
Cobalt Air, the Cypriot carrier, has grounded all of its operations indefinitely - including scheduled flights between Dublin and Larnaca.
"Cobalt regrets to announce that it will be cancelling all flights as of 23:50pm on October 17, 2018 due to indefinite suspension of Cobalt’s operations," the airline said in an abrupt message on its website last night.
"As a result, future flights or services provided by Cobalt will be cancelled and will no longer operate."
"Passengers who have un-flown tickets are instructed not to go to Larnaca Airport or any departure airport tomorrow, 18 October 2018 as no Cobalt flights will operate and no Cobalt staff will be present," it added.
The Cypriot airline had been operating for just two years, with routes including direct flights between Dublin and Larnaca.
A flight from Dublin departed at 15.37 yesterday afternoon, landing in Larnaca at 22.17. Dublin Airport is not believed to have had any prior knowledge of the suspension of services.
Cobalt is now advising passengers booked with the airline to contact their travel agent or credit card provider. The country's Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works says it is "aiming for the smooth and best possible operation for the repatriation of stranded passengers."
In the event of flight cancellations, passengers are entitled to a re-routing or a full refund, as well as compensation in some cases, under EU regulations.
In the event of cancellations, airlines are obliged to inform passengers of their options. However, Cobalt's website is currently showing only the suspension announcement, and it says no staff are at Larnaca.
It has not yet responded to Independent.ie Travel's request for comment, though the Ministry has advised stranded passengers to "secure an alternative single ticket in Economy Class for their repatriation, and keep all the evidence and receipts to be eligible for reimbursement."
Passengers will be informed with "subsequent announcements for arrangements for their repatriation", it added.
"We sincerely apologise once again and would like to thank our very loyal customers for their support over the last two years of Cobalt operations,"the airline said.
The news follows the collapse of budget airline Primera Air earlier this month.
NB: Irish passengers can also contact the Commission for Aviation Regulation at 01 661-1700 or flightrights.ie.
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