Aegean and Blue Air seek to cover “air gaps” after Cyprus Airways closure

Aegean and Blue Air seek to cover “air gaps” after Cyprus Airways closure

Two airlines announced on Tuesday they would increase their flights to and from Cyprus, to fill in the gap created in air transport following the closing down of Cyprus` flag air carrier last week.

Greek airline Aegean said that in the current year it would operate 15 direct flights from Cyprus to eight other countries, increasing its aircraft at its regional basis in Cyprus from one to four.

Aegean Vice Chairman Eftichios Vassilakis told a press conference that as a result of the expansion of its activities in Cyprus, the airline would need to hire 90 crew members.

“I believe that today marks a new beginning for our gradual, but long-term expansion from Cyprus” Vassilakis said.

As of April 2015, Aegean plans to operate eight to nine flights daily between Cyprus and Greece, with more frequent flights to Athens and Thessaloniki. It will also fly directly from Paphos airport, on the western coast, to Athens. There will also be direct flights to Heraclion, Crete, and Rhodes, and in July and August direct flights will operate to the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

The Greek airline plans to operate direct flights to London – Heathrow and Tel-Aviv on a daily basis, and to Beirut four times a week, to Paris and Kiev three times a week, Munich, Rome and Milan twice a week.

Should the company`s expansion be successful, Aegean would seek to expand its operations to another 25 destinations in six years, said the Vice Chairman of the Greek air carrier.

“Our goal is to be the world`s first choice,” he noted, adding that prices offered by Aegean are reasonable given the quality of its services.

Besides Aegean, another foreign air carrier announced on Tuesday it would open a new operational base in Cyprus as of January 19, carrying flights from Larnaca to Athens and from Larnaca to Thessaloniki and vice versa.

Low cost airline, Blue Air, said in an announcement it would operate seven flights to Athens and three flights to Thessaloniki, adding that flights are expected to increase.

It also said that current flights to Bucharest, carried out three times a week, will remain unchanged and that it aims to add more destinations from Cyprus to its flight schedule.

Tickets would be offered at very affordable prices, the Romanian company said.

Cyprus Airways suspended its operations last Friday following a European Commission decision ordering the airline to pay back over €100 million of state aid it had received in the past, as it gave the company an undue advantage over its competitors in breach of EU rules.