Deputy Tourism Minister Kostas Koumis on Tuesday said that the total seat capacity airlines expect to offer for trips to Cyprus in the coming months will be similar to last year, despite a range of challenges plaguing the aviation sector, setting the stage for a robust tourist season, provided there are no new unexpected developments in our region.

Speaking in the Parliament and asked about this year’s prospects, Koumis said that he is not overly optimistic but realistic, given that “in terms of planning, it has been and still remains a difficult year”.

He cited the persisting conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including the fighting in Gaza, as a key reason, combined with the challenges facing the aviation sector.

In terms of the latter, the struggles that major aerospace manufacturer Boeing have been well documented.

In this context, Koumis said “I have quite a bit of experience in destination management, and I don’t remember ever having so many problems accumulated in the aviation sector”.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism explained that the challenges involve a “series of problematic aircraft engines, the many problems faced by one of the two giants in the aviation sector, and problems that affected the flight schedules of many companies”.

In terms of Boeing’s recent obstacles, Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr recently stated that Boeing’s 737 Max crisis is costing his company “a lot of money”.

Despite Lufthansa’s fleet consisting predominantly of Airbus aircraft, Spohr underlined the need for competition.

“The industry needs two strong providers,” he stated, adding that “everyone has an interest in Boeing being able to build great aircraft more reliably again soon”.

In terms of Cyprus’ upcoming summer season, Koumis said that he is “cautiously optimistic because we have managed to match this year’s seat capacity offered with the one we had last year”.

“So yes, the conditions are set for another successful tourist season, as long as we do not have new unexpected situations in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” Koumis said.

“We have good grounds to be optimistic for another very good tourist season, and I say that clearly,” the minister concluded.