Upgrading airports mulled by government, Hermes, Demetriades says

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By Stelios Orphanides

Transport Minister Marios Demetriades said that Larnaca and Paphos airport operator Hermes Airports and the ministry of transport, communications and works are considering plans to expand their infrastructure to cope with increased passenger traffic.

While both airports are at present still in position to service travellers, should it be deemed necessary all steps to extend infrastructures will be taken, Demetriades said according to a statement on the website of the Press and Information Office on Thursday.

The minister, who was commenting following the signing of a new agreement with Hermes regulating incentives offered to airlines, said that the government’s revenue from the operation of the two airports has been rising every year mainly on increased traffic.

The incentive scheme aiming at attracting airlines to the two airports, had been particularly successful and led to an increase in traffic which in turn helped the economy, he said.

Directly or indirectly, tourism accounts for roughly a quarter of the Cypriot economy which emerged in 2015 from a prolonged recession and expanded last year 2.8 per cent. Arrivals rose last year 20 per cent to 3.186.531 which was an all-time high and the trend continues well into 2017 with arrivals rising 15 per cent in the first seven months of the year to 1,994,236.

The increase in passenger traffic at both airports prompted Hermes to advise travellers to show up at the airport at least two hours ahead of scheduled departure during the summer holidays in which traveller traffic peaks. It often led to traffic jams caused by cars delivering to or picking up passengers from the airport.

The overall benefit for the government, which signed a build-operate-transfer agreement with Hermes in 2006 for the construction of new airport facilities in Larnaca and Paphos, exceeds €1bn which includes also the cost of constructing the new airport facilities.

Hermes completed the construction of the new Larnaca airport in 2009, a year after doing so in Paphos.

Demetriades who oversaw the commercialisation of the Limassol port, the single success story of the government’s privatisation programme agreed with international creditors in 2013 in exchange for a bailout, said that the agreement with Hermes has proved that this type of agreements is of benefit for the state.
He added that the Limassol port saw its productivity increase 50 per cent in the first six months of its operation under the new status, under consortiums led by EuroGate and Dubai Ports.

“When you assign projects to companies and organisations of major outreach such as Hermes Airports and the companies offering services at the Limassol port, the benefit for the state and the island’s economy is guaranteed,” he said.

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Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • Roger Thecabinboy

    The Traffic arrangements at Larnaca certainly leave a lot to be desired, in particular the “pick up” area at arrivals. which IMO is not fit for purpose, and where the Drop off at departures is not much better, with many cars in both places seeming to be empty and parked up rather than picking up or dropping off passengers, causing problems for those who do only wish to drive in, drop off or pick-up and go.

    I would make the following suggestions for Larnaca:
    1) that the full car parking area in front of the terminal, within the area defined by the access and exit road , be provided with a Multi story car-park, of at least three levels, to more than double the area available for parking, and other activities as performed there.
    2) I would insist on strict enforcement of parking in marked bays, with powers to penalise and if necessary remove improperly parked cars.
    3) that ticketing be introduced for vehicle entry to the passenger drop of and pick up points at the arrival and departure levels, with a free period of say 15 minutes in any two hours, and a relatively hefty charge (more than for normal parking) for exceeding that 15 minutes time. That should be more than enough time for most people to load and/or unload. Using number plate recognition systems it should be possible to identify and bill those who wait for say 19 minutes, drive round and come back in.

  • spitimou

    Hate flying from LCA. They are so disorganised- sending numerous flights up and down stairs to different gates. 3 times on my flight and spoke to others who had the same problem.

  • westspoon

    Paphos certainly needs some proper covered walkways, and decent closed in holding areas…why this was not done when they built it I cannot comprehend!

  • HighTide

    It’s about time to start improvements before the new state-of-the-art airport at Ercan goes into operation.