Cyprus Airways (CY, Larnaca) has confirmed it has now secured its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Cypriot Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

“The Air Operator Certificate is a huge step forward for us, as it acknowledges that all our processes meet the requirements of European aviation authorities,” Natalia Popova, Cyprus Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said in a statement.

Legally known as Charlie Airlines, Cyprus Airways is a 40/60 joint-venture between Russia's S7 Group and a consortium of Cypriot investors. Charlie Airlines gained access to the name "Cyprus Airways" when it bought the name and brand rights of the original Cyprus Airways (1947) (CY, Larnaca) from the Cypriot government early last year. The contract is for ten years renewable on expiration.

As it stands, Cyprus Airways currently has a single A319-100 on its books - 5B-DCW (msn 1129), formerly VP-BTO with S7 Airlines (S7, Novosibirsk) - which it used for its proving flight earlier this month. The AOC now allows it to proceed and obtain an Air Services License (ASL) from the island's Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA).

“Our next step,” continued Popova, “is to get the license for commercial flights, for which we have already submitted our application. At the same time, we are at the final stage of preparations for the commencement of our flights.”

Given a manpower shortage and the sudden influx of prospective start-up airlines, which, aside from Cyprus Airways includes Orion Airways (FOH, Larnaca), the DCA has had to stagger its AOC procedures resulting in delays in the granting of final certificates.

The delays have already cost Cyprus Airways a summer flight contract with Hotelplan Suisse. Switzerland's Abouttravel reported earlier this week that the leisure firm had reawarded the contract to another Cypriot firm, Cobalt (CO, Larnaca), after Cyprus Airways failed to complete its certification and final paperwork in time.