Cyprus’ Transport Ministry is boasting success in maintaining the island’s flight connectivity with the rest of the world during the coronavirus crisis, recording one of the lowest reductions in Europe for arrivals.
According to the latest data released by Eurostat, the ministry said total arrivals on the island in the first eight months of the year reached 2,881,631 passengers.
The first eight months of the year saw one million more passengers arrive, compared to the same period in 2020, when 1,804,187 arrived at the island’s airports.
The survey recorded an 82% increase in flights landing on the island in August, although there were still 24% fewer to the pre-coronavirus 2019.
In August 2021, commercial flights to and from Cyprus were down by 24% compared to August 2019. The decrease on average in the EU during the same period was 31%.
Cyprus is sixth among the countries with the lowest decrease in flights compared to 2019.
The lowest decrease between August 2019 and August 2021 occurred in Greece (7%), Romania (18%) and Croatia (22%), followed by Luxembourg (24%) and Malta (24%).
The ministry attributed Cyprus’ success in keeping its connectivity alive to its incentive plan, which provided subsidies based on flight occupancy rate.
“The plan contributed to the restoration of Cyprus’ air connectivity with Europe and the rest of the world and supported the Cyprus economy”, the ministry said in its announcement.
According to the Transport Ministry, Cyprus attracted new airlines, adding new destinations, such as Paris, Marseille in France, Dortmund, and Hannover in Germany.
It added that flights to traditional destinations like Athens, Moscow and Kyiv have increased.
Cyprus and seven other EU member states, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Romania, have jointly called for the extension of the temporary support of air connectivity by the European Commission beyond 2021.
The temporary support scheme was set up by the European Commission in May 2020 to allow member states to directly aid airlines to keep up their flight schedules.
Meanwhile, according to data released by Hermes airport, Paphos Airport saw a total of 118,945 passengers during the first two weeks of September.