By Nathan Morley
A BRAND new local carrier is set to launch after receiving a commercial air transport licence from the government.
TUS Airways, based at Larnaca airport, has been in development for the last nine months and is backed by investors from Europe and the United States.
The airline confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that they will begin short-hop routes to destinations including Greece and Israel “between the middle and end of January”.
The company publicly announced the beginning of operations in a post titled “Newborn Airline” on their official Facebook page.
“We are ready to take off for charter flights and at the beginning of January our scheduled flights will be announced. Our twins SAAB 340B are ready to reach the skies.”
Michael Amprikidis, Head of Operations Support and deputy manager of TUS told the Cyprus Mail last night that the company wants to run a no-fuss quick check-in, e-ticketing and no lengthy queues.
“Now we are looking at traffic rights and planning a full schedule, we also want to hire more staff and operate our second aircraft,” he said.
The company hopes to pull in business and leisure travellers looking for frequent departures to regional destinations including Beirut, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rhodes, Kos, Eilat, Samos and Karpathos.
TUS plans to serve 12 destinations in winter and 16 during the summer months.
“We are currently discussing traffic rights with Israel, in particular Tel Aviv,” Amprikidis added.
Most of their flights will operate around peak rush hours between 7am and 7pm to keep connection times tight for business travellers.
In early October TUS – an acronym for ‘The Ultimate Schedule’ – was granted an air operator certificate from the department of civil aviation, with the commercial air transport licence being the last hurdle in a long process of securing a permit.
The short-haul carrier will operate twin-engined SAAB 340 turboprops, which can hold 34 passengers and operate medium-range journeys.
Prices for a one-way ticket will range from €69 to €169, depending on destination.
Their website is expected to be fully functioning for ticket sales by the start of 2016.
The company hopes for rapid expansion over the next year, with plans to operate eight aircraft by December 2016.
Last month TUS conducted a promotional press flight to Eilat in Israel, which it hopes will be a popular summer destination for holidaymakers from Cyprus.