The occupancy rate of the aircraft arriving in Cyprus last month reached around 85 per cent and is on the rise as peak season approaches, Hermes Airports said on Friday.

Director of Aviation Development and Communication Maria Kouroupi told CNA that currently, around 41,000 passengers arrive or depart from Larnaca and Paphos airports.

“The summer season started much better than we expected at the beginning of the year when there was a loss of air seats mainly due to the war in Israel and problems from an airline which was forced to reduce seats and aircraft flying to Cyprus,” she said.

“However in recent months, following various actions and efforts, we have managed to recover a large part of the seat availability that had been lost”.

Asked about arrivals from Israel, Kouroupi said they stood at around 90 per cent of normal for this time of year as one airline had added extra seats from the neighbouring country.

“There is almost a full return of the flight of the programme,” she said.

Kouroupi said there were also increases from other airlines, either in the form of new routes or the addition of seats on existing routes.

She said arrivals in May were up 4 per cent on last year and overall January-May was up 5 per cent on the same period last year.

“Things are going well, in terms of passenger traffic,” Kouroupi said.

She clarified that in terms of the numbers of passengers overall, the vast majority are visitors, which indicated that prospects were good for this year’s tourism.

Asked about new routes, the Hermes official said that among the new routes this year were Belfast in Northern Ireland, Nantes in France, Tallinn in Estonia, Radom in Poland and Liverpool in the UK.

Several seasonal routes have also been added from various regional airports in the Nordic countries, while the availability of air seats from both Britain and Poland has increased, she added.

“In general we see that there is a great dynamic from various countries,” she said.

Regarding the Russian market, Kouroupi said that despite the fact that there are no direct flights from Russia to Cyprus, there was nevertheless a steady flow of visitors arriving through other countries.