COVID19: Cyprus to gradually reopen airports from June

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Cyprus is preparing to reopen the country’s airports in mid-June but under certain conditions for entry, said Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos.

In comments to Sigma TV, the Transport Minister said his Ministry is currently preparing a roadmap as to how and when the airports are to open their gates once more to welcome tourists back in limited numbers.

“Currently we are going through a number of issues with the advisory team of experts on how to go about reopening the airports.

Issues such as whether we should be asking travellers, prior to boarding the plane, to carry a certificate proving that they have had coronavirus, or would it be safer for them to be tested upon arrival?” said Karousos.

He added that facilities at airports may need to be upgraded for best practices, once identified, to be applied.

The minister said that once the roadmap is drawn up by the Transport Ministry, then the Deputy Ministry of Tourism will be called in to offer its thoughts and feedback.

“Once the roadmap is updated with the Deputy Ministry’s input, then we will communicate it to the airlines and the tour operators.”

Asked whether airlines are keen to reinstate flights, taking into consideration that demand may be low, Karousos said a number of companies have already exhibited interest, while tour operators are waiting for Cyprus’ policy regarding reopening airports.

He added that air carriers prefer to fly their planes rather than have them on the ground idle, as they suffer more damage being grounded for a long time.

Karousos noted that the reopening the airports will be done gradually, with authorities evaluating epidemiological data of candidate countries from which tourists will be allowed to travel.

He said that general directives by the European Union will be taken into consideration, but most likely tourists will be arriving on the island from countries with which Cyprus has signed a bilateral agreement.

Commenting on airfares, the Minister said that it depends heavily on demand and the capacity with which planes will be allowed to fly.

“I expect prices to be different if planes are allowed to fly at 100% capacity than 60%,” said Karousos.

All commercial flights to Cyprus have been banned since March 21 while anyone allowed to enter the country is quarantined at a government facility for 14 days.

The reopening of airports is scheduled in June as part of the island’s third stage out of lockdown strategy.