Trav­ellers pay­ing a higher price for flights this Christmas

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

Trav­ellers look­ing to spend Christmas abroad while stu­dents want­ing to re­turn home will be pay­ing a higher price for an air­fare than pre­vi­ous years as the mar­ket has yet to re­cover from the clo­sure of Cobalt.

The ex­pected in­crease in air­port traf­fic dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, cou­pled with the void cre­ated with the col­lapse of Cobalt Air in Oc­to­ber, has pushed prices up­wards in com­par­i­son to tick­ets sold for the same pe­riod last year.

Com­ment­ing on the dif­fer­ence in prices from last year’s air­fares, travel agents find that Cobalt’s demise has put a squeeze on air­lines fly­ing to and from Cyprus.

Vasilis Sta­mataris, Pres­i­dent of the Cyprus Travel Agents As­so­ci­a­tion, told the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror that prices are a bit higher than the norm for the fes­tive pe­riod be­cause of a domino ef­fect caused by Cobalt.

“When the com­pany closed down, peo­ple who had bought early tick­ets for the hol­i­day sea­son with Cobalt, were ei­ther moved to other air­lines by their travel agen­cies or had made other ar­range­ments buy­ing tick­ets on other flights.

“There were flights added to Greece for De­cem­ber, im­me­di­ately after the clo­sure, which was al­most filled upon their an­nounce­ment,” Sta­mataris said.

He noted this pe­riod after Cobalt’s clo­sure is a dif­fi­cult one, with prices be­ing pushed up due to the lack of sup­ply, but he ex­pects that the rules of the mar­ket will soon reg­u­late prices.

“Prices may not be as low as they were when Cobalt was fly­ing, but we ex­pect that they will def­i­nitely drop, once more flights are added and new air­lines come into play,” said Sta­mataris.

He ex­plained that al­ready flight op­er­ated by Cobalt are be­ing re­vived.

“There are a few gaps, as flight sched­ules to des­ti­na­tions like Paris have yet to be re­in­stated but we ex­pect that to be re­solved soon, as some air­lines have ex­hib­ited in­ter­est to take on these flights,” he said.

ACTA’s Pres­i­dent added that pay­ing a slightly higher price for air­fares, is to the ben­e­fit of trav­ellers.

“What we want and need, es­pe­cially in an is­land coun­try like Cyprus, is healthy and safe air­lines which will not close overnight.”

Air­ports op­er­a­tor Her­mes con­firmed that flight ca­pac­ity was tight as the loss of Cobalt was not com­pen­sated for.

Maria Kouroupi, se­nior man­ager at Her­mes Avi­a­tion

sched­ules

pre­vi­ously De­vel­op­ment and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Depart­ment, although not in a po­si­tion to es­ti­mate traf­fic on flights to favourite des­ti­na­tions, such as Athens and Lon­don, con­firmed that flights are ex­pected to be filled up to the last seat.

“We have not seen the over­all traf­fic at Cyprus air­ports af­fected by Cobalt’s clo­sure. Quite the con­trary we ex­pect to see an over­all an­nual in­crease of 20,000 pas­sen­gers com­pared to last year,” said Kouroupi.

She added that ef­forts to draw in new air­lines to fill the void cre­ated by the col­lapse of the largest Cypriot-owned carrier are on­go­ing.

Tick­ets dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son for a re­turn trip to Athens, the num­ber one hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion among Cypri­ots, could cost more than EUR 600.

As of 20 De­cem­ber, till the end of the year, fares range from EUR 130 to EUR 320 for a one-way ticket to the Greek cap­i­tal.

One-way fares to Lon­don range be­tween EUR 248 and EUR 409, with the cheapest ticket on Christmas Eve go­ing for EUR 108.

Ad­vis­ing trav­ellers on how

Cypri­ots should book early.

“Trav­ellers who are look­ing to book a flight to­day for Christmas will quite nat­u­rally pay a higher price than what they would have if they booked it a few months in ad­vance,” said Sta­mataris.

“Opt­ing to travel to a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion dur­ing an off­peak pe­riod will al­low trav­ellers to find cheaper air tick­ets” he added.

to save money, ACTA

said

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