COBALT will commence flights between Paphos and Athens at the end of this month, according to tourism professionals.
Head of the Paphos hoteliers, Euripides Loizides, welcomed the move and said that the timing was perfect.
The airline will fill the gap left by Ryanair, which officially confirmed, earlier this year that they would be stopping at the end of March, he said.
Cobalt’s’ new route is due to start around the same time, and will ‘pick up the slack’ said Loizides.
In January, Ryanair officially announced that they would be axing this route in favour of a new route from Paphos to Tel Aviv, which will start on March 28.
When the route, which tourism professionals said was popular, was axed many disgruntled passengers expressed their concerns.
However, the new Cobalt route will only offer three flights a week, whereas Ryanair operated daily flights, sometime multiple ones on one day, he said.
“This is a good start and it was extremely popular. Many people form Limassol also use Paphos airport as it’s handy. It’s not only this route, other may be on the cards further down the line.”
Loizides also noted that Transport minister Marios Demetriades had been ‘extremely helpful’ in securing the deal.
“I was at a meeting which was the initiative of the minister, he met with Cobalt and all the stakeholders and was very helpful,” he said.
A spokesman for the Paphos regional board of tourism said: “The new flight schedule for Paphos brings economic benefits for the district and the activity of Cobalt in Paphos is expected to help reduce unemployment and alleviate seasonality in the future.”
He also welcomed Cobalt to Paphos and assured that everything possible would be done for a very successful presence in the area.
“Our objectives are to penetrate new markets and destinations, increase arrivals and promote all year round tourism,” he said.
“We will meet again next week and propose other destinations from Paphos which they could operate,” he said.
Loizides said these will be other European destinations, which could start as early as next season. The airline is currently based at Larnaca airport and plans to operate long haul flights.
“They have the potential to expand to other destinations and perhaps be based at Paphos as well.”