Aviation has a strategic importance in Cyprus’ regional role plans for which the government is ready to embrace artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades said on Thursday.

Our skies are no longer bound by conventional limits. Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity have both the potential to unlock unique possibilities but can also present formidable challenges,” he told attendees during the international conference taking place in Larnaca called ‘Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity in Civil and Military Aviation’.

He underlined it is very important for the government to increase its air connectivity.

It has recently signed a memorandum of cooperation with the European Association of Aviation Training Organisations (EATEO), which organised the conference along with The Flight Safety Foundation – Mediterranean.

“Progress in aviation is of great economic, political and social importance.”

Vafeades stressed the need for a balanced approach to innovation, particularly in integrating artificial intelligence and cybersecurity into the aviation industry.

He highlighted the importance of safeguarding aviation while embracing these innovations, posing critical questions on how AI can optimise flight routes, enhance safety protocols, reduce environmental impact, and how to protect civil aviation networks from cyber threats.

Vafeades also addressed the challenges faced by military aviation, where advanced technology is crucial yet vulnerable.

He advocated for advanced training methodologies that integrate traditional expertise with AI-driven simulations, ensuring aviation personnel are equipped to handle modern complexities.

Permanent secretary of the defence ministry, Andreas Loukas, underscored Cyprus’ commitment to secure aviation in the face of geopolitical complexities.

“Committed to peace, stability and prosperity, the Republic of Cyprus is dedicated to enhancing aviation safety while strengthening its cybersecurity resilience against emerging threats,” he said.