ACI EUROPE meets Cypriot Authorities
In the run-up to the Cypriot Presidency of the EU, which commences on 1 July, ACI EUROPE visited the country. With excellent support from Hermes Airports, the operator of Larnaca and Paphos airports on the island, ACI EUROPE met various state authorities, including the Minister of Communications & Works, Mr Efthemios Flourentzou, his Permanent Secretary Mr Alecos Michaelides and Mr Iacovos Demetriou, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and his team.
These meetings afforded the opportunity for ACI EUROPE to inform them of the state of the airport industry and main challenges facing aviation. Subjects covered included policy implication of the business transformation of airports, difficulties in accessing capital markets, increasing traffic volatility, aviation security and the one bag rule being enforced by certain Low Cost Carriers.
Naturally, given its immediate relevance, the European Commission’s ‘Airport Package’ (encompassing legislative proposals on ground handling, noise and airport slots) was also raised in these meetings. This is particularly relevant, given that the Cyprus Presidency has put airport slots among its priorities.
On the matter of external relations – ACI EUROPE is an outspoken advocate for more aviation liberalisation – the possibilities are especially promising for Cyprus given its geographical location on the edge of the EU and the enormous economic growth enjoyed by some of its neighbouring countries. A communication on aviation liberalisation is expected from the European Commission in the autumn. This will be a welcome development given that the lack of progress on this issue is a specific hurdle to the development of air traffic to and from the island. Any liberalisation with some of its neighbouring countries would open fresh opportunities for Cyprus Tourism and economic development.