Larnaca-based TUS Airways is to expand its flight schedule from Cyprus, including additional destinations such as Brussels, Paris, and Beijing.
Presenting TUS’ new flight plan on Wednesday, General Manager Michael Weinstein said the airline’s additional destinations: “Offer multiple benefits to passengers, while facilitating the transportation of cargo with multiple benefits for the economy”.
According to Weinstein, TUS will be launching seasonal flights from Larnaca to the Greek islands of Cephalonia, Skiathos, Kalamata, and Preveza.
Flights will also be available for Central Europe destinations such as Lyon, Strasbourg, and Toulouse.
Brussels, Paris, and Tel Aviv will be added to TUS’ permanent flight schedule from Larnaca.
Paphos Airport will not miss out, as seasonal itineraries have been planned for Paris, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg and permanent flights to Athens and Tel Aviv.
The company aims to turn Larnaca Airport into a “transit station”, including new destinations from September, such as Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Marrakesh in Morocco, Dubai, Jeddah, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos welcomed TUS’ expansion, noting that it comes at a crucial point when tourism is expected to take a blow from the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.
TUS’s move comes as the government strives to improve the island’s connectivity following the coronavirus pandemic.
“The war situation in Ukraine, which, if continues and given the sanctions imposed on Russia, means a reduction of about 15% of the total passenger traffic we estimated for 2022, which translates to about 1.6 million passengers (arrivals and departures)”.
Karousos added: “Cyprus depends almost exclusively on air transport for its connectivity.
“Inevitably, Cyprus finds itself in the vortex of a health crisis, while attempting a smooth social and economic restart”.
He argued that the government’s “most substantial action was the preparation of an action plan for the resumption of flights, which was implemented in June 2020, and an incentive scheme for airlines to keep Cyprus on their flight schedule”.
The scheme has been extended with the approval of the European Commission with validity until the end of June 2022 and with a budget of €6.1 mln.
Karousos added that 60 airlines offering flights connecting Cyprus with the rest of the world would benefit from the scheme.
Israel’s Global Knafaim bought a 49.9% stake in the small Cypriot airline with a $5 mln investment.
The agreement is also linked to the possible lease of Airbus A330s.
Tus Airways commenced operations in 2016, and its small fleet comprises two Airbus A320s, it now has five such aircraft.