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COVID19: Cyprus says beware of airlines selling tickets

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Air carriers are selling tickets for flights scheduled for dates from 1 June while the Cypriot authorities have yet to decide on when and how Cyprus airports are to reopen.

Cyprus authorities are warning travellers not to be too hasty in buying an air ticket before 9 June.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos claimed that airline companies are selling tickets for flights they know they will probably not be able to carry out.

The Minister said: “Unfortunately, some airlines are announcing flights while they know that there are decrees that will be extended.

They collect the fares but instead of returning the money, on the pretext that the flight was cancelled due to a decree, they give clients asking for a refund a voucher to use later on in the year”.
He urged the public not to pre-purchase flight tickets before June 9.

A Transport Ministry official confirmed to the Financial Mirror that the ban on commercial flights, currently in effect until 28 May, will be extended until 9 June.

Karousos also said that a roadmap to reopening Cyprus airports will be submitted to the Cabinet next week.

He said that the aim is “to open-air travel in an efficient and productive manner for the economy, without impacting public health negatively.”

The plan is being drawn up by senior civil servants of the Transport Ministry and the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and a member of the epidemiological team.

According to the minister, the action plan will include timetables and the various stages envisioned to restore flights.

It will also list countries with which Cyprus feels safe to re-establish connecting flights.

Karousos added, that the roadmap will also include suggestions for new measures at airports, possible modifications in their infrastructure and requirements for travellers to enter the Republic, such as a coronavirus test.

Air traffic will be restored gradually, the minister concluded.

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 mid-June as part of the island’s third stage out of lockdown strategy.

Almost 7,000 people repatriated

According to the Minister of Transport, a total of 6,947 people have been repatriated since March 21, with flights arranged by the government.

The repatriation program continues and in the next few days we plan to arrange flights from France, the Netherlands and Denmark, Karousos said.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Demetris Samuel told CNA that the implementation of the plan to repatriate people is “on the right track.”

For the first time, he said, flights scheduled to take place in the period ahead cover the number of people who want to come back, on the basis of the interest expressed through the connect2cy online platform.