Cyprus Airways on Wednesday unveiled its five-year strategic plan announcing the expansion of is flight schedule to five new routes, namely Milan, Zurich, Prague, Basel, and Cairo.
The new strategic plan was welcomed by the Minister of Transport Yiannis Karousos, Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios and Hermes Airport CEO Eleni Kalogirou.
Paul Sies unveiled the company’s new plans during a press conference, noting that the airline, one of Cyprus’ two local air carriers, aims to operate in 18 destinations next year and to expand to 30 destinations by 2026, while he did not rule out the possibility of launching a route in the Nordic countries, stating that the company is in talks with a big tour operator in the region.
Sies said that the company will grow gradually and will take it “step by step.”
'We don’t have to the biggest airline of Cyprus, we need to be the best airline of Cyprus, we need to be an airline that is profitable, we need to be an airline that is contributing to the economy'
“We don’t have to the biggest airline of Cyprus, we need to be the best airline of Cyprus, we need to be an airline that is profitable, we need to be an airline that is contributing to the economy,” he said.
Last year SJC Group became the shareholder of Cyprus Airways, a state-owned air carrier which bankrupted in 2013 and resume operations in 2016.
According to press release issued by the company, next year Cyprus Airways will operate with four Airbus A320ceo aircraft with a view to switch to the Airbus A320neo by 2025. The Company plans to increase its fleet to six aircraft in 2024, nine aircraft in 2025 and up to 11 aircraft by 2026. Part of this fleet will be used for ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) operations and charter services that will allow steady revenue flows and contributions to the airline.
Sies said that the company plans to increase is staff in Cyprus from 120 persons off-season and 180 during the summer season, to between 400 and 500 when the fleet plan is completed, while its indirect employment is envisaged to reach 1,000 persons in the next five years.
According to Cyprus Airways, next year the airline will be resuming twice weekly flights to Prague, Zurich and Cairo and will, for the first time, operate a twice weekly service to Basel. Milan Bergamo will also be serviced twice a week with a possibility to increase the operation to three times a week service. Current trending destinations such as Paris and Rome will remain in operation through summer alongside Santorini (twice per week), Skiathos (twice per week) and Preveza (twice per week). Crete and Rhodes will be serviced with three-time weekly flights, whilst Thessaloniki will be serviced daily. Beirut will reclaim its daily service while operations to Tel-Aviv will increase to up to 10 flights per week. Services to Yerevan, Armenia are set to increase to up to four weekly flights whilst Athens will be serviced with up to three daily flights.
Mikhail Alenkin, a shareholder of the air carrier, said Cyprus Airways maybe a private company now but he sees it as “a national carrier.”
“I really want to see Cyprus Airways as a big name like it was a long time ago, I want to see the airline a healthy airline be proud to say that I am part of it,” he said.
On his part, Karousos welcomed the company’s new plans, stating the company has a vision, the shareholders “and the means to achieve this vision which is very important for Cyprus and its connectivity.”
He said the government’s mission, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Hermes “is to create the best environment possible to improve connectivity and today we have an incentives scheme in place.”
Welcoming the plans, Perdios said the new routes are in line with the Deputy Ministry’s national plan for Tourism.
He also noted that Cyprus Airways’ new plans are well-placed at following the loss of the Russian market, Europe is envisaged to represent upwards of 50% of Cyprus tourism in the following years.
Recalling that 2022 tourism saw all-time records in arrivals from Poland, Italy, Denmark, Hungary and Austria while arrivals from Germany and Switzerland marked a 20-year record.
These are important figures and with the announcement today but as well as of the last weeks we are cautiously optimistic for next year, he added.
Eleni Kalogirou, Hermes Airports CEO, said the airport’s operator efforts in collaboration with the Cypriot authorities have borne fruit as passenger traffic will surpass 9 million passengers this year while air connectivity has been restored to a large extent.
“We are currently at 80% of our 2019 traffic and of course we hope to grow further in the coming year, hopefully with the help of Cyprus Airways so that we will be able to reach full recovery thereafter,” she added.