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Government hikes subsidy for Larnaca-Brussels flight

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The government has increased the subsidy its offering to airlines to provide a Larnaca-Brussels route after it had no takers.

A call for tender for a Larnaca-Brussels flights issued earlier this month failed, and now the amount on offer as a subsidy has been upped from €600,000 to €750,000 a year, according to the transport ministry.

Expected to end in August, it requires the tender to sign a contract offering the flights for four consecutive years with at least two flights a week, totalling €3 million from the government.

The previous tender, which had only one expression of interest from Aegean Airlines was unsuccessful as they had asked for a subsidy higher than the one initially proposed by the ministry of €600,000, according to Antonis Lemesianos, Chief Air Transport Officer at the Department of Civil Aviation.

“The amount is negotiable,” Lemesianos said which means that if a company can outline why they might require more money in subsidies, this can be discussed.

Flights from Larnaca to Brussels are deemed to be a public service obligation as they are not financially viable to airlines, meaning they would lose money without state support.

Subsidies were available since the end of 2014 on the condition of operating three flights a week during the winter season and four times a week in summer however the particular offer did not garner enough interest.

Asked why flights from Paphos by Ryanair could not be utilised, the ministry said this was because they were seeking flights to Zaventem while Ryanair travelled to Brussels South Charleroi Airport.

The move has been approved by the European Commission, the ministry said.

Discussions are ongoing with countries such as Egypt, South Africa, India and China to negotiate bilateral agreements with the aim of increasing Cyprus’ connectivity.

 

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