Cyprus business leaders say the exorbitant cost of high airfares to closest EU destination Greece are unacceptable and claim for prices to reach EUR 690, there must be manipulation of the market.
Higher fares are linked to the void left by the demise of low-cost Cypriot airline Cobalt, which was not filled by other carriers, led to prices skyrocketing, with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) suggesting there is a “cartel which is manipulating prices”.
In a joint press conference, the Cyprus-Greece Business Association and the CCCI presented a table of airfares for the summer months with tickets for Athens reaching €690 and Salonica €508. The prices are for a return ticket for an adult travelling with a suitcase of up to 23 kg.
The table presented by the Association, showed the three airlines performing scheduled flights to Greece (Aegean, Blue Air, Cyprus Airways) offering a similar price range.
Travel to Athens in July will cost from €247 to €690. The lowest ticket for a flight with Cyprus Airways during the period 13-21 July, is €247, while Aegean’s lowest airfares can be found between 26 July and 1 August costing €272. Blue Air’s cheapest fares are between 12-15 July and start from €256.
Dearest fares for July are €454 (Aegean), €532 (Cyprus Airways) and €690 (Blue Air). For trips to Thessaloniki in July, prices range from €284- €387.
People choosing to travel to Athens or in Thessaloniki during the holiday period of the 15 August, will also have to dig deep in their pockets. According to the figures of the Association, prices in August remain at the same high levels as in July.
For example, one can find tickets for €272- €390 with Aegean (8-15 August), €245- €690 with Blue Air (8-15 August) and €294- €587 with Cyprus Airways during 10-14 August.
In the same period for Thessaloniki you can find Aegean €469 (9-17 August), with Blue Air €368- €508 (10-17 August) and Cyprus Airways €493 (15-20 August ).
President of the Cyprus-Greece Business Association Iosif, said that the pre-existing problem with high airfares has grown during the summer months as Cypriots prefer Greek destinations for the summer getaways.
He said flights offered by the airlines do not meet demand, as some 500,000 Cypriots a year travel to Greece, while the number of Greeks travelling to Cyprus will also have to be taken into consideration.
Iosif said that high airfares is discouraging travel to and from both countries, while they have taken a toll on business ties between Cyprus and Greece.
President of the CCCI, Christodoulos Angastiniotis, said that the prices for air tickets between Cyprus and Greece are unacceptably high and suggested a price-fixing "cartel".
He also pointed out that flights to Greece are particularly expensive when compared to airfares for other European destinations.