Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos on Wednesday warned consumers to hold off buying air tickets in case they were cancelled due to the unclear situation surrounding the reopening of travel and tourism in various countries.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC radio, Karousos said just because Cyprus’ current ban on commercial flights, was due to expire on May 28, it did not mean it would not be extended another 14 days to June 9 on review later this week.
Many airlines, he said, where there is no a decree in force, are rushing to open up flights. “Unfortunately, the aim is not to carry out the flights, the aim is to collect the ticket fare and then when the flight is cancelled due to the decree, instead of returning the money, they give vouchers, thus securing cash flow,” Karousos said. He said that consumers might wait an entire year to get a refund.
The European Commission said on Wednesday it was sending letters to EU countries reminding them that all customers have the right to cash refunds over cancelled travel or holidays due to the pandemic.
Karousos said that the only flights for which people can safely book a ticket for now were for repatriation, and were continuing. So far, around 7,000 people have been repatriated, he said.