Flights from Moscow to Tymbou (Ercan) airport in the north of the island will start in March 2023, the Turkish Cypriot ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli said on Friday, and insisted that the creation of a new airline in the north remains open.

According to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Diyalog, Arikli told Tv2020 web that two companies will start flights from Moscow via Antalya for the 2023 tourist season, and added that if the Turkish Cypriots become partners with them “we will have a say”.

“We cannot afford to freeze our efforts. We need to put alternative airlines into operation as soon as possible. What is important for us right now is to have direct flights. We are technically ready for that, the necessary infrastructure is available. Two airlines have registered with the TRNC on a touchdown condition. In the new season two companies will start Moscow-Antalya-Ercan routes,” Arikli said.

However, he added that the process for the new Turkish Cypriot airline has not been completed, stating that it will not be the same airline that was previously reported on that had Turkish interests, “but we have contacted other companies and are waiting for a response.”