The cabinet on Tuesday extended an incentive scheme for airlines aimed at addressing the effects of the pandemic on the island’s air links.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said the scheme, which was due to end at the end of the year, was being extended for six months with the approval of the European Commission which also agreed to increasing the ceiling of the incentives.

“That is why we have prepared and submitted to the Council of Ministers a proposal to extend the current scheme so that it will be in line with the limits and preconditions set by the European Commission,” he said.

According to Karousos, the scheme has delivered results with 2021 figures showing flights avaiable to 158 destinations, eight more than the 150 destinations covered in 2019. A total of 62 airlines operated in Cyprus in 2021 compared to 70 in 2019, one of the smallest reductions in Europe, he added.

The plan was first approved by the EU Commission in July 2020. It was last renewed in June this year.