A 277% increase in passenger traffic was registered by the airports of Cyprus, in the first two quarters of 2022, compared to last year, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Yannis Karousos, said on Monday, noting that the airports of Larnaca and Paphos are on the way of recovery.
Mr. Karousos, according to an announcement by the GTP, was speaking at the "Travel Retail Consumer Forum" conference, organized by the company CTC ARI Airports Ltd, in Limassol and which takes place every year, inviting experts and professionals from all over the world to a trade event exclusively dedicated to aviation consumer knowledge, opinion, data and research.
In his statements, Mr. Karousos referred to the excellent work carried out at the airports of Larnaca and Paphos, which, as he said, is an indication of perfect cooperation between the private sector and the public sector, for the recovery of the sector during difficult periods, both of pandemic, as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As part of the joint efforts of the Government, Hermes Airports, airport operators and tourism, our airports are on the road to recovery, following the global crisis of Covid-19 which has adversely affected air transport, the Minister said.
Specifically, he said that in the first two quarters of 2022 there was a 277% increase compared to last year and that, based on current data and the future, "we expect a further increase in passenger traffic at airports".
Mr. Karousos expressed the certainty that the coordinated effort and the provision of incentives offered by the Government, Hermes Airports and the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, with the aim of introducing new air connections and increased frequencies as well as increasing tourist traffic, will stimulate the economic activity on the island.
As an island, the Transport Minister added, ensuring a satisfactory level of air connectivity is vital for economic, social and strategic purposes.
"The development of tourism, trade, business and technology hubs is a strategic goal for the government of Cyprus and air connectivity plays an important role for the country's economy," he added.
According to him, various approaches to support air connectivity have been promoted by the Republic of Cyprus during the period 2012-2021, amounting to 58 million euros and a number of incentive programs have been offered, with the aim of attracting airlines and increasing the number of passengers who arrived at the airports of Cyprus.
In addition, Mr. Karousos mentioned that, during the pandemic period, additional incentives had been given for the recovery of the sector, amounting to approximately €17 million, thus accelerating the recovery of the aviation sector.
He noted that the obstacles and difficulties we face also create opportunities for growth, as more and more branded companies invest in digital platforms and spaces, such as airports, provide an interactive platform to effectively meet the needs and expectations of customers.
"Looking on the bright side, we all expect 2023 to be the year when both passenger numbers and sales return to pre-pandemic levels. Covid-19", he indicated.
At the same time, Mr. Karousos referred to the text of the "FIT for 55" Directive where, with the intervention of Cyprus, the Reward Mechanism for the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF Allowance Mechanism) was included, a mechanism that will help mitigate the increase in costs of fuel that will initially be observed with the use of sustainable aviation fuels.
In particular, notes the announcement of the GTP, 20 million free greenhouse gas emission allowances will be made available to support the use of sustainable aviation fuels, so as to cover the increase in costs compared to conventional fuels to 70%. With this mechanism, it is added, the European aviation sector will have a 1.8 billion euro benefit for EU airlines, where it will cover 70% of the difference in the cost of conventional and sustainable fuel.
In addition, Yannis Karousos spoke about the fruitful, as he said, efforts of his Ministry to highlight the disproportionate effects, as far as island member states of the EU are concerned, of the implementation of the new provisions in ETS Aviation, as a special provision was included in the text of the Directive reference to island states smaller than 10,000 km², for which the difference in fuel costs will be covered at 100%.
Finally, the Minister stated that the close cooperation and commitment between the Cyprus Government, Hermes Airports, CTC-ARI and all the airport operators, proves that there are the elements required for the public-private partnership to be a successful example for development.
He also expressed his appreciation to all those involved, both in the private and public sectors, for the efforts they make to operate modern airports in our country.
The successful operation of the airports is a tribute to those who work hard and cooperate so that we enjoy high-quality infrastructure and services, but also a confirmation of the desire of all involved to succeed, the Minister of Transport concluded in his statement.