Cyprus Airways Closes: Implications for Larnaca Airport and Visitors to the Countrya
After a period of extended financial difficulty, Cyprus Airways has officially been closed down, leaving locals and tourists alike confused and concerned about the future of air travel for the country.
The decision was made by the European Commission, based on the company's ailing financial situation and inability to repay extensive debts owed (in 2007, the airline received a restructuring aid package of 95 million). According to Harris Georgiades, Finance Minister for Cyprus; The company has ceased being a viable entity and cannot continue to operate.
Whilst the news was anticipated by many, the European Commission's verdict presents significant impact to airline travel in Cyprus. Thankfully, all travellers who have already booked flights with Cyprus Airways will be fully reimbursed by the state. But the question still remains; what are the implications for Larnaca Airport and for tourism in general?
Plans for the Future
Of course, the loss of its national air carrier comes as a blow to Cyprus, which employs 550 people and is 93% owned by the state. However, the actual statistics show that its closure may not have quite the impact on tourism that most initially fear. In fact, in 2014, Cyprus Airways only had a 10% share of flights to the island (down from 30% only two years earlier).
Ryanair issued a statement, indicating that they would temporarily cut prices to Cyprus in order to help any stranded passengers; and early reports indicate that they, in addition to Greece's Aegean Airlines, have submitted applications to the authorities with the intention of creating subsidiaries on the Mediterranean island.
Of course, this is unlikely to be an overnight process, and is further complicated by the fact that many of Cyprus Airways' destinations were outside the EU, which means they are longer routes than Ryanair's standard flights. But certainly, early signs indicate that other major airlines will be effectively taking the place of Cyprus Airways; and that numbers of flights should be maintained, if not increased, in the future.
The Effect on Visitors to the Island
If you're visiting North Cyprus and flying into Ercan Airport, then the impact is likely to be minimal, if noticeable at all. Cyprus Airways did not operate within North Cyprus, and inbound flights to the region still come via Turkey.
If you're planning to fly to Larnaca Airport (for the purposes of either visiting Cyprus or crossing the border to the North) then you may experience a minor level of disruption, particularly over the next six months.
However, all other airlines will still be operating as normal, including (but not limited to):
- British Airways
- Easy Jet
- Air France
- Air Malta
Pick-Up fom Larnaca Airport
If youre due to fly to Larnaca Airport and are concerned about disruption, take reassurance from the fact that the state is working hard to ensure that issues are kept to a minimum. Alternatively, if you're flying to South Cyprus and want to cross the border to Northern Cyprus, we offer pick-up services to all our car-hire customers. Simply get in touch if you'd like to find out more.
More news about Cyprus Airways issue: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-30798375