Cyprus Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios said there is serious momentum for establishing direct flights to and from Saudi Arabia, stressing that this possibility could unlock the Saudi tourism market for Cyprus.
Perdios visited Jeddah for contacts with local officials and tourist stakeholders aiming to push for a direct flight between the two countries, which Cyprus has sought for three years. He held separate contacts with senior officials from the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Civil Aviation as well as air carriers, tour operators and cruise lines offices.
“We are intensifying our efforts for a direct flight as we feel there is serious momentum for this becoming a reality,” Perdios told CNA from Jeddah, adding that establishing these flights would create “serious interest for tourist flows from this market.”
He said that the Deputy Ministry proposed that such a flight could be operated to and from Jeddah, instead of Riyadh.
Perdios explained that the duration of a flight from Jeddah is 90 minutes, rendering the Saudi city an ideal destination as it would enable short breaks, conference tourism and cruise tourism, as both Saudi Arabia and Cyprus are considered departure points for cruises.
“Jeddah with its short flight duration would be ideal for attracting tourists for short cruises and would be ideal for Cypriots aiming for a short cruise in Saudi Arabia as well,” he said.
Replying to a question, Perdios said the air carriers have not finalized their flight programs for 2022.
We believe that this was the right timing and that is why we made this trip, he added.
Perdios also said that during his contacts, he conveyed a message by the Cyprus Minister of Transport that Cyprus would evaluate a possible request for the granting of the 5th freedom if one is submitted. The fifth freedom entails the right to an airline to carry passengers from one`s own country to a second country, and from that country onward to a third country.
Perdios will travel to Dubai to accompany Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in his visit to the United Arab Emirates.