Air Transport World

Cyprus Airways successful in very competitive environment.

Cyprus Airways successful in very competitive environment

With Cyprus Airways' excellent record of traffic and profit growth in recent years, the airline today shows little sign of the body blow it received in the mid-1970s when it lost fleet and operating base resulting in a cessation of operations for seven months. Located in the eastern Mediterranean 15 minutes flying time from Beirut, Cyprus has been split in two since 1974 with United Nations forces patrolling the border between the main portion of the island and the territory of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.' For the last 12 years Nicosia International Airport has been closed except for the UN using it as a vehicle park. Cyprus Airways operates from a hastily developed airport at Larnaca on the island's south coast while keeping its head office in the capital city of Nicosia.

Temporary Larnaca base?

The airline has established a modest technical base at Larnaca airport using some equipment the UN allowed the airline to move from Nicosia airport. Initially, operations from Larnaca were carried out with leased aircraft as the entire Cyprus Airways fleet was on the ground at Nicosia when the Turks attacked in 1974; a Trident was destroyed and the other three aircraft were not allowed to be flown out until after years of negotiation.

Although reconciled to using Larnaca for the indefinite future (the conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypricots seems far from settlement). Cyprus Airways hopes that one day it will be able to move back to Nicosia International Airport. However, it would require considerable rehabilitation and improvement after a dozen years of inactivity, according to Dimitri Pantazis, one of Cyprus Airways' three assistant general managers. …

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