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GAZA: War adds pressure on air traffic, Cyprus braces for evacuees

27 July, 2014

The war in the Gaza Strip has complicated air traffic control in the region, with the Deputy Director of Cyprus Civil Aviation Persephone Papadopoulou saying that air traffic continues to be perfectly safe.
Papadopoulou said that air traffic has not increased due to the situation in Gaza, but that air traffic control has become more complicated because a specific point in an air corridor has been closed.
She explained that a specific passage used by aircraft taking off from Israel and heading west, and monitored by Nicosia’s Flight Information Region (FIR) has been closed. Those airplanes are channelled through another air corridor further north, which crosses the path of arrivals.
Papadopoulou said that the only thing that has changed is the workload of the Civil Aviation Department as when some companies decided not to travel to Israel, their airplanes landed at Larnaca airport and the passengers were carried by Israeli airlines.
Meanwhile, Cyprus Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos said that Cyprus is ready to accept European citizens or other nationals that will flee Gaza or Syria due to the ongoing crisis, pointing out that these individuals must use Cyprus as a transit point towards their final destination.
The Minister said that Cyprus has the infrastructure and the operational work plans to deal with the situation and that the EU is already addressing the crisis and that there is a European project involving all member states.