By Evie Andreou
Cyprus’ air connectivity is gradually being restored as airlines are announcing more flights to fill in the gap left by the closing down of Cyprus Airways (CY), grounded earlier in the month after the EU Commission ruled that it should return some €66m in state aid.
Communications Minister Marios Demetriades had said last week that air connectivity was still high despite the demise of the national carrier, and that almost all of the routes on which Cyprus Airways had been operating were covered. The national carrier had a 10 per cent share in the Cyprus aviation market.
As of Tuesday, Aegean Air will fly from Larnaca to Tel Aviv three times a week.
The Greek airline had announced new destinations for Cyprus such as Kiev, Paris, Munich, Milan, Rome and Beirut including Heathrow. CY had ceased its flights to Heathrow in September opting to use Stansted Airport instead.
The Greek airline, whose new flight plan is expected to begin by the end of March, will also be relying heavily on flights to Greece, increasing their daily flights by 60 per cent.
In addition to their flights to Bucharest, Romanian low cost carrier Blue Air, started two weeks ago flying from Larnaca to Athens seven times a week and three times a week to Thessaloniki.
The representatives of Blue Air in Cyprus, Orthodoxou Aviation said that reservations for the two Greek destinations have exceeded their expectations.
Earlier in the week, British Airways announced that by the end of March, they were to increase the number of flights from Larnaca to London Heathrow, from 7 to 13 per week.
The airline is also running its regular London Gatwick to Paphos and London Gatwick to Larnaca flight schedule.
Travel agents and the consumers association had expressed their concerns that in the long term the closing down of CY would affect airfare prices since they anticipated increase in flights for 2015 rather than replacement of the existing ones.
The airlines however, are so far advertising competitive prices. Aegean Airline’s deputy Eftyxhios Vasilakis had said at the presentation of his company’s activity expansion in Cyprus that the one who survives in the free market is the one who provides consumers with the best combination of quality, value and cost.