“CA has prepared a very attractive package of flights for the Larnaca-London route to compete with those on offer by economy carriers from Paphos,” an insider said on Wednesday.
“Travellers to the British capital have to bear in mind that CA won’t charge additional cost for luggage and food – something economy carriers do. Plus, a Nicosia resident has to consider the additional cost getting to and from far-away Paphos,” added the insider.
The cash-strapped national carrier’s board is now looking into a draft return flight schedule offering prices from €250-260. Electronic reservations for these flights will be made available within days, according to informed sources.
The bargain tickets are partly possible because there is less cost flying to Stansted Airport compared with Heathrow due to substantially lower service fees. According to estimates by Stansted Airport, a carrier getting some 50,000 passengers there annually saves over £2 million on service fees compared with Heathrow.
In addition, the flight time to Stansted is less considering that planes have at least a 15-minute landing wait at Heathrow airport that they don’t have at the smaller airport. That factor decreases substantially the flight cost.
CA sold its last remaining daily slot pair at Heathrow Airport to US carrier American Airlines for $31 million.
The deal concluded one of the key measures that were included in the Restructuring Plan submitted to the European Commission as part of its Restructuring Aid application. A Cyprus Airways statement said that the sale will not only enhance the company’s liquidity for 2015, but will also permit it to “change its frequency and improve flight times” which it was unable to do at the slot-constrained Heathrow Airport.
Cyprus Airways is no stranger to Stansted Airport and has been serving the London facility over the past two decades to provide additional capacity alongside the Heathrow operation.
The market between UK and Cyprus is highly competitive considering that - alongside CA - eight other carriers will offer scheduled flights between the two countries this summer.