Cyprus Mail

Cyprus requests increase in flight frequencies with Israel

Transport minister Marios Demetriades wants to see flights to and from Ben Gurion airport increased as soon as possible

Transport minister Marios Demetriades has raised the issue of flight frequencies increase with Israel due to increased demand by airline companies.

The issue was raised during a meeting between Demetriades and his Israeli counterpart, Israel Katz, in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. The trip was organised by Tus Airways which carries out daily scheduled flights from Larnaca International Airport to Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv.

Flight frequencies are governed by the EU-Israel comprehensive aviation agreement, which stipulates the gradual lifting of restrictions on flight frequencies until the full liberalization of the market by 2018. Currently four airlines carry out 24 of the 30 flights connecting Cyprus and Israel, while flight frequencies are projected to increase to 37 in the period of 2017-2018. However, Nicosia wants to expedite this increase due to higher demand.

“While flight liberalization is implemented gradually, we request an increase in some flights if possible due to increased demand from airline companies,” Demetriades told the Cyprus News Agency, adding that the Israeli authorities pledged to look into the issue.

Recalling that four airlines, two Cypriot and two Israeli, carry out flights connecting Cyprus and Israel, Demetriades said the number of flights to and from Israel are expected to increase, connecting Larnaca with both Tel Aviv and Haifa.

“We believe that this is very important because we had a huge increase in tourist arrivals from Israel and Israel could develop into one of the most important tourist markets for Cyprus,” the Cypriot minister noted.

Furthermore, Demetriades praised the relations between the two countries as very good, adding that these ties cover many fields.

Demetriades and Katz discussed issues concerning transport, cooperation in European projects, the mutual recognition of driving licenses, as well as issues concerning road safety.

During his stay in Israel, Demetriades also visited Jerusalem where he met with local-authoritiy officials who presented the light-rail project and the city`s road traffic master plan.

“This was a very constructive visit and I believe we could learn a lot from Israel,” Demetriades concluded.

The Transport mnister was accompanied by the ministry`s permanent undersecretary Alecos Michaelides, civil aviation chief Nicos Nicolaou, head of the minister`s office Niki Santamas, Cyprus` ambassador to Israel Thessalia Salina Shambos, and tourist attache to Israel Luiza Varaclas.

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