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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Regional airlines eye new Cyprus airport at Larnaca as a new hub ]

Regional airlines eye new Cyprus airport at Larnaca as a new hub

Regional airlines eye new Cyprus airport at Larnaca as a new hub
– Aegean with own lounge, e-tickets –
October 30, 2009 - www.financialmirror.com

Regional airlines, primarily from the Middle East, are considering using the new terminals in Cyprus built by Hermes Airports as alternative hubs, with Greek operator Aegean opening a dedicated lounge at Larnaca as it will also be the first to test the e-ticket stations.
The new Larnaca terminal, with increased capacity and improved efficiencies for airlines, will start operations on November 10 with only Cyprus Airways and Easyjet using the new facilities, while all other airlines will follow a week later on November 17.
Newcomers, such as the UAE’s Etihad and low-cost carrier Air Arabia, are keen to set up a base at the new Larnaca airport to service through-traffic to other European destinations, just as Emirates operates a daily flight from Dubai to Malta with a stopover in Larnaca taking passengers each way.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation recently announced that Italy, Germany and Ireland would be included in the Airline Destination Support Scheme (ARDSS) to be eligible for financial aid to encourage more airlines and tour operators to promote holidays in Cyprus.
However, a senior official at a leading European airline told the Financial Mirror that “no matter how much incentive is given to these low-cost airlines, they will not bring in significant numbers or quality of tourists. Those who will come will not contribute to the economy and all the CTO is doing is direct additional business to the airports operator. Both airports are a monopolistic situation and costs are constantly rising.”
Hermes Airports CEO Alfred van der Meer said that with the introduction of the 16 air bridges, some airlines will be able to disembark their passengers and move further down to an auxiliary apron until their next departure, either to return or onward to the next destination.
He said that although there is an increased cost for the use of the bridges, most of the airlines will use them as they will be offsetting the cost and hassle of using buses and crew to shuttle passengers to and from their aircraft.
However, responding to criticism, van der Meer said, “do you know of any airline that doesn’t complain about costs?”
The new airport terminal, built at a cost of EUR 656 mln, will have two business lounges – one operated by the Swissport/Cyprus Airways joint venture (660 square nmetres) and the other by Aegean (110 sq.m.), but these are already regarded by the industry as among the most expensive lounges in Europe.
The two ground-handlers, LGS and Swissport, will also move to the new terminal on November 10.

5-STAR AIRPORT HOTEL

Hermes Airports Chairman Nicos Shacolas said that there is a provision to increase both airports’ capacity from 7.5 mln to 9 mln passengers in Larnaca and from 1.8 mln to nearly 3 mln in Paphos, raising the cost of both projects to 804.5 mln euros.
The new Larnaca terminal, built by French construction giant Bouyges, will have 25% more parking spaces, 12 more check-in counters, 13 more airline ticketing counters and larger baggage carousels, as well as more shops than the old terminal built in 1975 after the Turkish invasion which had a design capacity of 3 mln passengers but carried 5 mln.
Shacolas added that plans are also underway to build a 5-star airport hotel for an additional cost of 200 mln euros, which would be ready by the end of 2011.
“We have already submitted to the government specific plans and designs for the creation of a modern five storey airport hotel, including restaurants and conference areas, as well as a leisure centre, all totalling 200 mln euros.”
Shacolas said he believed the government’s response will be positive and construction of the new hotel will begin three months upon approval.
“I believe before the end of 2011, the new airport hotel will be operational,” he said.

AHEAD OF TIME

He said that the construction of both Larnaca and Paphos airports, the biggest public projects in Cyprus, were delivered ahead of time, with the Larnaca terminal completed in just three years and 39 days, nearly five months early, as part of the 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession.
Currently there are more installations under construction, he said, including transit cargo, additional parking areas, four new gas stations and more, with an extra cost of 52.9 mln euros.
We are also planning a better, productive use of the existing facilities at the old Larnaca airport, Shacolas added, noting however that Hermes does not have a specific plan in mind. “For about a year, the old airport will remain open on stand by.
Afterwards, the site will be used for offices, commercial use or other purposes. We will not allow the site to be abandoned”, he said.
Hermes Airports CEO van der Meer said about 70% of the aircraft using the airport will be able to use the bridges, but in his opinion “most airlines will want to anyway”, with cargo planes and private jets using the buses. Other new charges include a smaller fee for security.
A wireless service is already available at Paphos airport and it will also be available in Larnaca. The service is offered by OTENET for a fee, chargeable through credit card, starting from 6 euros for 30 minutes, 8 euros for an hour and 12 euros for two hours.

CAIR ‘NEW AIRPORT’ OFFERS

Cyprus Airways (CAIR) is offering special prices on return tickets to Athens for EUR 125, inclusive of all taxes, to mark the opening of the new Larnaca airport on November 10. The offer is valid for travel on Tuesdays and Saturdays from November 10 to December 12 and only 70 seats per flight will be allocated to the special rate.
Hermes Airports is a joint venture company with Cypriot and foreign shareholders: Bouygues Batiment International (22%), Egis Projects (20%), Cyprus Trading Corporation Plc (11.34%), Hellenic Mining (11.33%), Vancouver Airport Services (11%), Aer Rianta International (11%), Iacovou Brothers Construction (5.665%), Charilaos Apostolides Plc (5.665%) and Aeroport Nice Cote d' Azur Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (2%).


COMPARISON OF TERMINAL SPECIFICATIONS
NEW LARNACA AIRPORT vs. OLD LARNACA AIRPORT
Total size of building 100.000 sq m 22.100 sq m
Passenger capacity (annually) 7.5 m 3.2 m
Check-in counters 67 52
Airline ticket desks 14 3
Self Check-in kiosks 8 0
Air-Bridges 16 0
Security points 7 5
Baggage conveyor belts 5 (15 aircraft) 5 (5 aircraft)
Parking spaces 2.450 1.990
Facilities for reduced mobility Yes Yes
Leisure spaces, cafes, shops 10.000 sq m 3.000 sq m
CIP Lounge 2 1
CCTV Complete coverage Partial coverage
Immediate access to highway Yes No


(Source: Financial Mirror, http://www.financialmirror.com/News/Cyprus_and_World_News/18061)



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