The first few days of operation of the new terminal at the north’s Ercan (Tymbou) airport have been plagued by power cuts and other technical issues.

After being officially opened in an extravagant ceremony attended by the great and good of both Turkish Cypriot and Turkish politics and seeing commercial passenger services commence on Friday morning, things have been far from plain sailing.

The first reports of power cuts came as early as Friday evening, with a two-hour power cut reported by local media.

Those reports were initially denied by the north’s electricity authority (Kib-Tek) chairman Huseyin Pasha, who insisted “there is no problem”.

However, reports of problems persisted, with the north’s air traffic controllers’ trade union Cem Kapisiz saying on Friday pilots and air traffic controllers had resorted to using mobile phones to communicate with each other.

“There are serious problems arising from the opening of the terminal without the necessary electricity and communications facilities,” it said, adding that the use of mobile phones to communicate between aircraft and air traffic controllers is “unacceptable” and “not in compliance with aviation regulations”.

Problems and criticism persisted throughout the weekend, with Kib-Tek employees’ union (El-Sen) chairman Ahmet Tugcu claiming the new terminal in its current state “poses a serious danger to both employees and passengers”.

He claimed that electrical systems at the new terminal had not undergone the necessary inspections by Kib-Tek and that the frequent ongoing power cuts in the terminal building present “a serious fire hazard”.

Things came to a head on Tuesday morning with photographs and videos circulating on social media of hundreds of passengers stranded in the airport’s check in area after its baggage transport system reportedly collapsed.

Suitcases piled up at check in desks with the system unable to take them to where they needed to be, while arriving passengers were required to identify and collect their suitcases from the tarmac next to planes. The airport eventually resorted to towing baggage to the arrivals hall by tractor.

While this was going on, the airport’s electricity reportedly went off again with multiple flights cancelled “without reason”. As a result of the power cuts, passengers were unable to use the airport’s jet bridges to board and disembark from the aeroplanes, leaving arriving passengers stranded on board.

The north’s ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli said on Tuesday that backup generators had been installed but that they cannot be automatically activated due to “fluctuating” power at the substation in the village of Mora, which powers the airport.

Arikli was not confident about a quick fix to the airport’s woes, saying “this problem will seemingly continue throughout August because electricity consumption is at bursting point”.

He added that “we are trying to close the gap by buying electricity from the Greek Cypriots but it is not enough. This is what the cuts are for. This also affects the airport”.