Qatar Airways has introduced its inaugural flight to Larnaca, making Cyprus the airline’s 138th destination from Doha, as other carriers also increase capacity to the island.
The inaugural flight signals the start of a four-time weekly service to Larnaca that will be operated by an Airbus A320, with 12 seats in business class and 132 in economy.
Following a transport agreement signed in Qatar two months ago, the airline now has negotiated a code share agreement with Cyprus Airways for two westward bound flights, excluding Greece, while the Cypriot national carrier will benefit from an east-bound agreement beyond Doha.
The inaugural flight to Larnaca was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute, while the CEO of Hermes Airports, Wes Porter, led the welcoming committee.
“Larnaca is a welcome new addition to our extensive route map. Scheduled flights between Cyprus and Qatar have long been an aspiration for the airline and we believe travellers will truly appreciate our five-star service, together with the enhanced network of flights around the world,” said Marwan Koleilat, Qatar’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“The arrival of Qatar Airways is an important milestone not only for Hermes but also for the Republic of Cyprus. This new route will not only promote and support tourism development between Cyprus and Qatar, but will also improve the connectivity of Cyprus to the East,” said Hermes Airport’s Porter.
The Doha-Larnaca service, which runs four times a week, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It will be represented by Louis Group subsidiary LGS Handling.
Meanwhile, Emirates announced two weeks ago that it will resume a daily service to Cyprus, with the addition of three more flights a week from August 1. This news follows the exemption of the pre-entry visa – now also free of charge - applicable to Cypriot citizens visiting UAE from March 22. Travellers from Cyprus will be able to enjoy once again daily access to Dubai and to Malta which currently is operating on a four times weekly basis.
Operated by an Airbus A330-200, the daily service between Dubai, Larnaca and onwards to Malta will be adding a capacity of 563 seats a week and an additional 51 tonnes capacity for cargo in each direction.
Emirates’ A330-200 will feature 237 seats in a three class configuration – 12 first class suites, 42 business class suites and 183 economy class seats. Travellers now enjoy added baggage allowances – 30 kilos in economy, 40 in business and 50 in first class. The daily flight will enable Emirates SkyCargo, to better serve Cypriot importers and exporters by offering a daily cargo capacity of 17 tonnes and more frequent connections with their supplier markets.
Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the UAE, also announced it will boost frequency and capacity to Larnaca and Athens, adding depth to its expanding network, while enhancing connectivity over its Abu Dhabi hub.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said that “in the case of Larnaca, the additional flights will provide more choice and flexibility, as well as better connectivity over Abu Dhabi.” Etihad will increase its frequency on the Abu Dhabi - Larnaca route from three to five flights per week and will also operate Larnaca as a daily service during the peak summer period from July 1 to September 30. All services to and from Larnaca will be operated by a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft configured to carry 16 guests in Pearl business class and 120 in Coral economy.
Meanwhile, Cyprus-veteran carrier British Airways is boosting its summer schedule from Cyprus to London Heathrow and Gatwick. Now offering travellers the option of 17 flights per week, both incoming and outgoing tourism has received a significant boost with more travel options.
Upon the resumption of the Paphos-Gatwick route on the March 30, British Airways immediately proceeded with an increase in flights from Larnaca to Gatwick from 3 to 5 times a week every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Source: Financial Mirror