By Poly Pantelides
OFFICIALS from the UK’s postal services, Royal Mail, are due to visit the island at the end of the month to discuss how they can improve services to and from the island in tandem with their Cypriot counterparts.
Pavlos Pavlides, deputy director of postal services, said that outgoing mail from the UK to Cyprus falls under the responsibility of the Royal Mail and its own agreements with airline carriers.
The majority of post reaching Cyprus is airmail and though Pavlides conceded that there was an issue with fewer carriers arriving to Cyprus, he added that most mail still arrived on direct rather than indirect flights.
He was responding to a question by the Cyprus Mail on a report from a 50-year-old businessman who has not received any letters from the UK in six weeks. Though Pavlides could not comment on the particular case because he had not dealt with it, the Cyprus Mail asked him to comment on a claim by a senior postal worker in Nicosia that mail from the UK and Germany was being routed via Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.
Pavlides said that although the bulk of mail came directly, the Royal Mail also sent mail via Greece and to a much lesser extent via other countries.
The businessman who did not want to be named said that up until two months ago he would regularly receive letters from the UK, including bank statements, circulars and magazines. He visited a post office this week to enquire about the delays and a person in charge “reluctantly volunteered that there was indeed a problem,” claiming that all mail from the UK and Germany was no longer coming directly, which Pavlides said was not the case.
The businessman was not aware of anyone else knew experiencing delays. Pavlides said the postal services do take up the issue of unreasonable delays with other countries’ services, including the Royal Mail, but cannot force any service to change their policy. Cyprus and UK postal services’ delegates are however meeting to discuss how they can improve their services to the public, he said.
The Cyprus Mail has regularly received complaints from people waiting for mail, particularly around Christmas time with the Royal Mail and Cyprus’ services sometimes giving contradictory information that cannot be verified because the bulk of the mail is not tracked.
Some 50 per cent of letter traffic, which tends to be untracked items weighing less than two kilos, hails from the UK followed by Greece from where 10 per cent of letters coming to Cyprus arrive, Pavlides said. The majority of parcels come from Germany (35 per cent), Greece (10 per cent) and only then the UK that trails behind with 4.0 per cent. On average, 200 postal sacks arrive every day, with traffic going up during the busier times of Christmas and Easter when delays are more likely to occur.
By Poly Pantelides