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Fight for Cyprus’ growing air travel market

Some 9.3 million travellers are expected to use the airports at Larnaca and Paphos this year, a 3.6% increase on 2016, which had in turn been a record-breaking year.

Last year saw an 18% increase, translating to 1.37 million passengers using the airports, an 18% rise in comparison to 2015.

Aegean, Thomson Airways and Easyjet led the pack when it came to market shares while, according to airport managing company Hermes Airports, 38% of the passengers chose longer-established airlines.

The two airports serve a large number and companies from 40 countries, facilitating over 140 routes to and from 115 destinations. However, Hermes Airport figures reveal that just three major markets cover 67% of the air traffic–the UK, Russia and Greece. Israel and Germany, meanwhile, are gaining an increasing large share.

Air traffic by category

Hermes Airports data says that longer-established traditional flights make up 38% of the total while  charter flights make up 28% of air traffic and 19% of passengers from Cyprus choose low cost airlines.

A further 15% select flights with ‘hybrid airlines,’ those that start off as low cost providers but add additional services.

Market share

In an interview with Phileleftheros, Senior Manager Marketing & Communications at Hermes Airports Maria Kouroupi says Aegean tops the list when it comes to the market share of flights in and out of Cyprus with 10.2%. Of this, 35% travel through Athens to other destinations. Thomson Airways is next with 83%. Thomson cooperates with TUI for flights to England and over the past months expanded its service to include year-long flights.  Easyjet has 7.7% of the market share with Kouroupi noting the airline had in recent years begun to add European destinations to its routes and was currently the only airline to fly to Basel and Milan from Cyprus in addition to its routes to the UK.

Rossiya which serves Biblioglobus, with 7.3%, is next, followed by Ryanair with 5.9%. Kouroupi noted Ryanair had opened a number of markets including the Italian and German one. “At first the company focused on Greece but now it is changing course, replacing its Athens flight with one to Israel,” Kouroupi noted.

Blueair takes sixth place with a 4.6% market share after making a strong debut after Cyprus Airways was no longer in the picture. “They opened new routes to Luton and Birmingham. Blueair is slowly but surely gaining ground,” Kouroupi noted.

Next is Cobalt, with 4.2% and big plans for the year with five planes and new routes to the UK, Greece and, more recently, Madrid and Paris.

Eighth place belongs to Jet2 (4%) which will from this winter be extending its routes beyong the usual summer period.

Next is Thomas Cook World with a 3.7% market share and an increase in UK, Germany and Austria dealings as a travel agency.

Wizz Air, with 3.6%, is next showing a steady rise over the past three years. According to Kouroupi: “It has been adding flights every year and this year plans 13 flights to Cyprus while focusing on Eastern Europe”.


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