Low-cost Ryanair confirmed on Tuesday that it would discontinue its flight between Paphos and Athens to facilitate its new route from the same airport to Tel Aviv.
The company had refrained last month from confirming the rumors and concerns voiced from Paphos residents that it would discontinue as of the end of March its flight between Paphos and Athens.
Last week, a spokesperson for the company told the Cyprus Mail that they had yet to finalise their Paphos summer 2017 schedule.
On Tuesday however, Ryanair confirmed that the flight would be discontinued as emphasis was on its new flight from Paphos to Tel Aviv in Israel that will commence on March 28.
“The Paphos-Athens route will not operate next summer in order to facilitate the recently announced new route from Paphos to Tel Aviv,” another spokesperson with the company told the Cyprus Mail.
Despite that the Paphos tourism board (Etap) welcomed the announcement of the new daily service to Israel, many Paphians expressed concerns over the discontinuation of the flight to Athens.
Etap had said that the new daily flight to and from Tel Aviv would boost business and is encouraging as regards the increase of visitors from Israel, as this year showed a 50 per cent increase compared with 2015. Between January and November, the group said, there were 141,000 arrivals from Israel. Etap hopes to see the continuation of flights on a year-round basis.
On the other hand, many fear that the discontinuation of the service to Athens would harm Paphos’ tourism sector and upset the plans of many who were planning on visiting the town in view of the events organised throughout 2017 since Paphos as of January 1 is a European Capital of Culture.
The very last date one can book a ticket from Paphos to Athens is March 26. According to media reports, Ryanair informed customers who booked tickets to Athens after March to make other arrangements due to the discontinuation of the flight in question, while passengers were given the option to either change their tickets to other destinations or take a refund.