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Larnaka International Playing Key Role in Cyprus’s Tourism Growth
“An optimally functioning and pleasant airport helps to boost the reputation of a country”
Larnaka International Airport has served as a main international gateway to Cyprus since it opened in 1975. As a result of strong growth in business and leisure travel to and through Cyprus in recent years, the government launched a €650 million Build- Operate Transfer project (the first in Cyprus’s history) to upgrade both Larnaka and Pafos airports; in 2006, the 25-year concession was won by Hermes Airports, an international consortium that includes France’s Bouygues Batiment International and Canada’s Vancouver Airport Services.
Hermes Airports has already made major improvements to both Cyprus airports. A new one-million-square-feet passenger terminal went into service at Larnaka International in 2009 with a capacity of 7.5 million passengers per year. Under Hermes’ management, both Larnaka and Pafos airports have established a reputation for state-of-the-art facilities and excellent customer service, and they handled a combined 7 million passengers last year, most of them through Larnaka.
Building Local Pride
Alfred van der Meer, CEO of Hermes Airports, points out that the two Cyprus airports are now ranked among the world’s most sophisticated, technologically advanced and safest, and that both have won many international awards, including the DFNI “Best New Airport Duty-Free Shop” award for Larnaka International. Mr. Van der Meer notes, “We have shown that these airports are reliable, transparent, safe, and really beneficial for Cyprus. An optimally functioning and pleasant airport helps to boost the reputation of a country, and Cypriots are now very proud of Larnaka as their main international airport.”
Around 60 airlines fly to Larnaka and the airport’s traffic continues to grow. This summer, Aegean Airlines, which was already flying between Larnaka and London Heathrow as well as two Greek airports, inaugurated new routes between Larnaka, Paris and six more Greek destinations, and Larnaka International is now the base for three of Aegean’s A320s. In addition, popular low-cost carrier Ryanair now offers flights between Larnaka and Dusseldorf, Bologna, Brussels and Barcelona.
As for the future, Mr. Van der Meer explains, “The growth of Larnaka and Pafos International airports is closely bound to the growth of Cyprus’s tourism industry. So, as we continue to improve our airports here, we are working closely with tourism leaders to help Cyprus develop a successful, sustainable, year-round tourism sector.”