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UK denies reports it’s looking into direct flights to the north

File photo: Tymbou (Ercan) airport in the north.

The UK’s Foreign Office said on Thursday that reports in Turkish Cypriot media that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would look into the issue of direct flights to the north were not true.

The announcement came after a report by TAK news agency that quotes Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar, who is in the UK for contacts, saying that Johnson was positive on the issue of direct flights to the north.

“These reports are untrue. The UK’s position on this has not changed. Direct flights between the UK and the north of Cyprus would not be in line with the UK’s international obligations,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said later in the day.

Ercan (Tymbou) airport in the north of Cyprus is not recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as an international airport thus the UK but also other countries cannot negotiate an Air Services Agreement with the Turkish Cypriot administration to allow for direct flights.

The UK Court of Appeals has also confirmed that direct flights between the UK and the north would breach the UK’s international obligations under the 1944 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation.

Direct flights to the north has been a standing demand by the Turkish Cypriots, which was rekindled ahead of Brexit as the ‘government’ in the north expressed the conviction that the new state of affairs could allow for such a move, or for direct trade with the UK.

The issue is also being promoted by British MPs such as the Conservatives’  Iain Duncan Smith who often states he supports the desire of his Turkish Cypriot constituents for direct flights to the north of the island.


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