PAPHOS has been dealt yet another blow as Cyprus Airways (CY) yesterday confirmed the suspension of Paphos-Heathrow flights from October 29, just days after announcing the cancellation of the Paphos-Thessaloniki route as of September 5.

In addition the twice weekly Paphos-Amsterdam flight will be reduced to just one.

CY said the reasons for the cuts were financial. However, airline spokesman Kyriakos Kyriakou said the Heathrow flight might be reinstated for the summer season next year.

“When cancelling flights CY usually gives the excuse that the flight isn’t profitable but I know that these flights are very popular,” manager of the Paphos regional board of tourism, Nassos Hadjigeorgiou said

“The cancellation of the Heathrow flight is a very negative development, as it is one of the busiest and up market airports of the world,” he added.

“If CY abandon this route, it will be very difficult for another airline to find flights slots as the traffic there is so busy. I believe that CY will try to sell the slots for huge amounts of money.”

The move comes after the national carrier announced the cancellation of flights from Paphos to Brussels and Gatwick earlier this year, and now Paphos officials fear the airline may abandon the airport altogether.

“The airline could easily now say that they don’t have enough flights using the airport and that it’s not profitable enough for them to operate from Paphos any longer,” said Hadjigeorgiou adding, “we won’t let them abandon us; the national airline should be supporting Paphos during these economically lean times, but once again CY is fighting us.”

Local officials are still waiting for a study by the carrier into the viability of using Paphos International airport as a base.

“We have been waiting for the results of this study since January 2010. CY promised to provide us with this and they have yet to present us with anything.”

He said that two years ago Blue Air operated four successful flights from Paphos to Thessaloniki, which proves that demand by passengers for the service is there.

“The only reason Blue Air stopped this flight was because the company was downsizing and they had to cut flights all over the world.”

Kyriakou disagreed. “The Thessaloniki flight is once a week from Larnaca via Paphos and as with the other cancelled flights is causing the company losses as the plane is almost empty. We will continue to operate flights from Larnaca to Thessaloniki.”

Source: Cyprus Mail



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