Air connectivity and tourism make up 20 per cent of Cyprus’ GDP, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Tuesday, as he criticised Turkey’s increasing violations into Cypriot airspace.

His speech, read out by his deputy general secretary Yiannis Nicolaides in Nicosia at a conference at the Mediterranean foundation for flight safety, highlighted Turkey has upped the ante by infringing into Nicosia’s flight information region (FIR) with Turkish military aircraft and drones.

“Cypriot air carriers, like other air carriers established in any other member state, have the right to non-discriminatory access to air routes in accordance with the principle of ‘EU designation’, as defined by EU law,” Karousos underlined.

The minister added Cyprus’ economy largely depends on air carriers and ensuring air connectivity is a top priority.

“We aim to improve Cyprus’ air connectivity by creating an attractive environment for airlines that can support their plans to expand their routes to new destinations in the winter season too.”

Karousos added a number of new incentives valued at €165 million will boost passenger traffic by 52 per cent by 2027.