Cyprus Airways said it cannot sell tickets for its scheduled weekly flights from Larnaca to Moscow because Russian authorities have banned it carrying passengers.
The airline started flights from Larnaca to Moscow (Domodedovo airport) at the end of November, but it is unable to sell tickets as Russia says it cannot carry inward bound passengers.
“The Russian authorities have not given us, so far, a concrete answer as to why and this is the reason we hope the Cyprus government will assist,” a company source told the Financial Mirror.
For now, Cyprus Airways flights from Larnaca to Moscow (every Thursday) will depart empty as it can only sell tickets for the Moscow to Larnaca route.
The Larnaca-based airline called the decision “arbitrary” by “limiting or completely prohibiting” Cyprus Airways to carry passengers to the Russian Federation.
Cyprus Airways, Chief Operations Officer George Mavrocostas said: “We are extremely disappointed with the discrimination and unfair treatment of the Russian authorities against Cyprus Airways, taking into consideration that two Russian air carriers recently started operations on the route Moscow-Larnaca-Moscow without having similar restrictions.
“This violates the principle of equal treatment underlining the bilateral air services agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation”.
The company said it is relying on the Cyprus government’s assistance to protect “fair and equal opportunities” to the air carriers of each side.
“We are hoping the current obstacles in air traffic between the two countries will soon be resolved to the mutual benefit of Russian and Cypriot air carriers,” said a company statement.
“Once the issue is clarified, the company will officially announce reopening of sales for Larnaca – Moscow.
“Flights from Moscow to Larnaca operate normally and are available for sale on cyprusairways.com.”
In July 2016, Charlie Airlines, a Cyprus registered company, won a tender for the right to use the trademark Cyprus Airways for a decade. The company launched flights in June 2017.
Cyprus Airways operates flights to Europe and the Middle East.