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COVID19: Cyprus airlines subsidy to boost tourism

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Cyprus has prepared a €6.3 mln incentive scheme to boost its flight connectivity by attracting more airlines after lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The government has decided to push forward with a six-month scheme aiming to encourage airlines to put Cyprus on their flight schedule, especially from countries where connectivity should be better such as France, Germany and the Netherlands.

This will be done with Cyprus undertaking part of the risk, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said.

Essentially, subsidies will be offered to airlines based on their capacity factor.

Airlines will be entitled to a subsidy only if they are able to fill their planes by at least 40%.

The calculation will be made based on the number of passengers for flights carrying between 40% and 70% of their capacity.

Referring to his Ministry’s calculations, Karousos said that Cyprus airports are expected to see “37,000 passengers in June, 196,000 in July, 460,000 in August, 634,000 in September, 693,000 in October, 380,000 in November and 334,000 in December”.

Cyprus is expected to see more visitors after coronavirus containment measures are eased across Europe.

Karousos noted that the scheme is an important incentive to facilitate improved connectivity of the country, also boosting tourism.

The scheme has been approved by the EU state aid commissioner and is open to airlines carrying out flights from the approved list of countries issued by the Health Ministry.

Karousos said some 20 airlines have already expressed their intent to put Cyprus on their schedules, with this number expected to double to 40 within the next few days and rise from mid-July.

Airports reopened to a list of 21 countries since 9 June, with the first 10 days being a pilot stage.

All passengers will require a coronavirus clean health certificate when arriving up until June 19, after that those arriving from Category A countries will not need a certificate.

From 20 June tourists from 18 ‘low risk’ countries will not require proof they have tested negative for coronavirus, the minister said.

They include Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Malta and Austria.