Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou says Cyprus Civil Aviation needs an upgrade to handle increasing demands in the industry and also face Turkish challenges.
Prodromou was speaking with reporters who were attending an air traffic safety conference on Friday in Nicosia, organised by the Flight Safety Foundation-Mediterranean with support from a number of countries in the Middle East.
Prodromou raised the issue of flight safety and potential safety risks in the Flight Information Region (Nicosia FIR), which he says were a result of Turkey’s stance on the matter and “illegal actions.”
“There is safety in air travel over Cyprus and the proof is with officials handling many millions of passengers"
“Everything that Turkey does or does not allow to be done in the airspace of the Republic of Cyprus is a matter that concerns the EU as a whole,” Prodromou said.
Due to the division of the island, the Republic of Cyprus in the internationally-recognised south is overseeing a reduced area on its own within the Nicosia FIR, while Turkish Cypriots in the north cooperate with Turkey but without cooperation between the two sides.
Although there have been no direct safety risks from the dispute, the Republic of Cyprus has argued repeatedly that having two authorities in direct competition puts unnecessary burden on air traffic control officials and airline pilots and also increases the risk that something could go wrong during unforeseen circumstances.
“There is safety in air travel over Cyprus and the proof is with officials handling many millions of passengers,” Prodromou said.
Ercan must close
He also commented on Tymbou airport outside north Nicosia, also known as Ercan, saying the government was pushing for the illegal airport to close down.
“Having a minimum of communication does not suffice, there is a need for more effective infrastructure for safety,” Prodromou said.
The government spokesman days earlier also made comments regarding the Syrian conflict, clarifying that Cyprus was not in any way taking part in any potential action against Syria.
“There has been no disturbance in air travel in Cyprus so far, and we expect and hope the situation will stay that way,” he added.