Libra Holidays Group
Bryan Field (MD)
| Larnaca (HQ), Paphos (secondary base), Athens, London-Luton, Manchester, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Prague, Sofia, Bournemouth, Cairo, Paris-Charles De Gaulle, Dublin, Warsaw, Glasgow|
Larnaca International Airport, Paphos International Airport
Helios Airways was a low-cost Cypriot airline operating scheduled and charter flights between Cyprus and many European and African destinations. It had its corporate headquarters on the grounds of Larnaca International Airport in Larnaca. Its main base was Larnaca International Airport. Flights ceased on 6 November 2006 because the company's aircraft were detained and its bank accounts frozen by the Government of Cyprus.
Helios Airways Wikipedia
The airline was established as Helios Airways on 23 September 1998 and was the first independent privately owned airline in Cyprus. On 15 May 2000, it operated its first charter flight to London Gatwick. It was formed by the owners of TEA (Cyprus), a Cypriot offshore air operator specialising in Boeing 737 wet leases worldwide. Originally, it offered charter services and scheduled services to destinations including Athens, London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Prague, Sofia, Bournemouth, Cairo, Paris, Dublin and Warsaw. Helios Airways was acquired in 2004 by Libra Holidays Group of Limassol, Cyprus.
On 14 August 2005, Helios Airways Flight 522 crashed near Grammatiko, Greece, as the crew was incapacitated due to lack of oxygen, all 121 passengers and crew were killed. The investigation concluded that both maintenance crews and the pilots had failed to ensure the pressurization system was set to "automatic", and as a result, the plane never pressurized. The accident revealed many problems with safety of the airline and led to manslaughter charges against five airline officials.
On 14 March 2006 it was announced that Helios Airways would be rebranded as Ajet and would withdraw from scheduled operations. Responding to rumors, on 30 October 2006 Ajet announced that it was to cease operations over the period of the following 90 days. In light of this, the Cyprus Government demanded that back taxes be paid immediately. Also, private suppliers demanded that they be paid in cash for any further goods and services provided to the company. On 31 October 2006 the airline announced that it was ceasing operations immediately. On 11 November 2006 the Company website announced that The Government of the Republic of Cyprus had "illegally detained Ajet’s aircraft and frozen the Company’s bank accounts", which was in "direct contravention to the successful appeal lodged by Ajet in the District Court, causing substantial financial damage to the Company". As a result, Ajet announced that all flights that were scheduled to be operated by other Carriers to all destinations, would no longer be operating as of Monday, 6 November 2006 and that passengers would therefore have to make their own arrangements.
All Ajet flights were suspended from 1 November 2006 and the majority of its schedules were taken over by the now defunct XL Airways UK charter carrier. According to owners, Libra Holidays, the decision to close was due to poor financial results and pressure from creditors.
When the airline ceased operating, the jet fleet consisted of the following aircraft:2 × Boeing 737-800
The airline had also operated the following aircraft:1 × Airbus A319-112 (2005), leased from Lotus Air
1 × Boeing 737-300 (2004-2005), written off as Helios Airways Flight 522
1 × Boeing 737-400 (2000-2001)
On 14 August 2005, Helios Airways Flight 522, a Boeing 737-31S, flying from Larnaca to Prague via Athens crashed near Kalamos, Greece. The aircraft had 115 passengers on board and a total of 6 crew (2 pilots, 4 cabin crew). The crash was caused by a pressurization problem. Flight Attendant Andreas Prodromou attempted to fly the plane following the loss of consciousness of the crew and passengers, but was unable to save the stricken jet, as it ran out of fuel and crashed in the hills northeast of Athens.