Cypriot Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Yiannis Karousos, said that the country expects to receive about 600,000 passengers in August, noting that this estimation includes people flying in on commercial and private planes.
Speaking from Larnaca Aiport, Karousos said “we are initiating efforts to restore our country’s connectivity in the best possible way,” noting that a deal has been reached with Hungarian low-cost airline WIZZ AIR to form a base at the airport.
“Initially, there will be two aircrafts, with the number to increase at a later stage, while 11 more flights toward 11 airports and seven countries will boost current routes,” Karousos said.
“The benefits for Cyprus are very important, in terms of both tourism and the economy, as jobs will be created,” he continued. The airline’s base in Laranaca Airport will serve to boost connectivity with countries and destinations that Cyprus did not enjoy in the past.
József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air Group said that “after ten years of successful operations to Larnaka International Airport, I am delighted to announce our newest base here, as we see the potential and the demand for low cost travel in Cyprus which is one of the most popular and rapidly developing tourist destinations.”
Karousos noted that discussions are also being held with other major airlines, in view of creating additional flights and routes.
“There is a gradual lifting of measures,” Karousos said, noting that “we are kicking off on June 9, and by June 20 passengers from a number of countries won’t need to present a certificate [for coronavirus].”
“According to our estimations and based on the facts we have so far, by August we should have around 600,000 passengers arriving in Cyprus,” Karousos continued.
Commenting on the deal reached with the Hungarian airline, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said it is a “great success for Cyprus, particularly in the conditions in which we are living, as no one can know which airlines will manage to survive and how many flights they will be able to maintain globally.”
Perdios said the base, which will remain in Laranaca Airport for a period of 12 months, will also boost efforts for establishing the island as a winter destination.
A few days ago, the Cyprus government vowed to cover all costs for any individual that tests positive for COVID-19 while holidaying on the island, in a bid to attract tourism.
Peridos said Cyprus is among a very small number of countries that can offer this to tourists, as the small number of tourists, particularly in comparison to Greece or Spain, mean the government can manage the costs.