Restoring ferry link with Greece gathers speed

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A return ticket for a new passenger ferry between Limassol and Piraeus, Greece, will cost the same as an airline ticket to Athens from Cyprus, according to the Deputy Ministry of Shipping.

Fares for the re-established ferry link are expected to cost around €130, said Deputy Minister for Shipping Natasa Pilides on Tuesday

After attending a meeting of the House Transport Committee that discussed the issue, Pilides said that as efforts are underway for the service to be up and running by this summer.

She told MPs the junior Ministry is waiting for a response from the European Commission to a proposal tabled by Cyprus for Brussels to subsidise the ferry connection between Limassol and Piraeus.

Pilides noted that once the green light is given, a tender competition will be announced with the aim of having the service available this summer.

She said companies in Cyprus, Greece and other EU countries have already exhibited interest.

A subsidy will be given based on the agreed amount and the company’s profits, but it is expected to be slightly over €5 mln.

Pilides argued that a return ticket is expected to cost around €130 per person, including port fees, without the transportation of a vehicle, making it compatible with airfares.

She will meet on Wednesday with Communications Minister Yiannis Karousos to discuss vehicle transportations on the ferry.

Chair of the committee, ruling DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou said it seems that the EU Commission eyes Cyprus’ request positively, while its response is expected within the coming weeks.

The ferry trip to Greece will last for 30 hours with officials mulling whether to add an intermediate stop, such as the Greek island of Rhodes.

Pilides said the route will be operational once a week between May and September and once every fortnight during the winter.