By Annette Chrysostomou
On August 19 a record of 329 flights or 61,000 passengers will travel to and from Larnaca and Paphos airports, it was reported on Friday.
“The peak of passenger traffic for Larnaca airport will be Sunday August 19 with 253 flights corresponding to 47,000 air seats, while for Paphos it is Wednesday August 22 with 100 flights corresponding to 19,000 air seats,” an announcement from airport operator Hermes said.
“The whole month of August is the month with most flights and the largest passenger traffic during the year.”
In the wake of these figures, the Paphos chamber of commerce and industry has called for an expansion of Paphos airport.
Head of the chamber Andreas Demetriades said the airport is operating within the limits of its capacity, though a number of measures have been taken to mitigate the problems. These are temporary and will only work short-term, he believes.
There are now 12 people working at the passport control, and care is taken that sufficient staff works at peak hours, both at the arrivals and departures. Thirty interactive booths have also been installed.
These measures are working so far, as according to the Paphos airport operator, the waiting time for passengers is within acceptable limits.
As per the same source, there have been no complaints regarding problems at the airport despite the increased traffic.
However, Demetriades said these are not measures that will solve the problem in the medium and long term.
He called for negotiations and debates between the government and operator Hermes with the aim of expanding the airport.
According to Hermes airports statistics, passenger traffic at Larnaca and Paphos airports increased by 8 per cent in the first seven months of the year, while by the end of the year the increase is expected to be at 6.7 per cent.
At the airports of Larnaca and Paphos, 5,939,198 passengers were counted compared to 5,500,364 in 2017 in the same period, an increase of 438,834.
It is estimated that passengers travelling to and from both airports will reach nearly 11 million this year, an increase of 4.48 per cent for Larnaca and 13.23 per cent for Paphos from last year.
During the first seven months, the number of people who passed through Larnaca was 4.379,372, 5.8 per cent more than in 2017.
In July alone the rise was 8 per cent. The highest increases recorded were by travellers from Slovakia (109 per cent), the Czech Republic (100 per cent), and Italy with 82 per cent.
Regarding Paphos, the increase was 14.6 per cent from January until July and 10.8 per cent for July.