Birmingham Airport is to part ways with Cyprus Airways, more than 25 years after the Mediterranean airline first began flying from the Midlands hub. The departure, say airline bosses, is down to “falling demand” on routes to Larnaca and Paphos, the only destinations served by the carrier from Birmingham.
Cyprus Airways, which is the flag-carrying airline of its namesake, Cyprus, currently resides at Larnaca International Airport. Andreas Agathou, Cyprus Airways’ boss in the UK, implied that the cancellation of the two routes was a ‘pre-emptive strike,’ as the flights are self-sustaining at present, but likely to become unprofitable in the future.
The news is “clearly disappointing,” said an airport spokeswoman. “We are mindful of the tough conditions facing the industry, and hope that Cyprus Airways will return once the economy recovers.”
Larnaca and Paphos, coastal resorts in the south of Cyprus, are currently served by one flight a week from Birmingham, although frequency is doubled in the summer months. The two destinations are extremely popular with UK travellers, and flights to Paphos (for example) are available from Doncaster, Edinburgh, and Newcastle airports, among others.
Local newspaper, the Birmingham Post, indicated that Cyprus Airways is a favourite carrier of Cypriot communities in the Midlands. Brits who own properties in the sunny island republic are also important customers for the airline.
Rival company, Thomson, will continue to offer flights to Cyprus from the Midlands, taking over from Cyprus Airways completely when the firm returns home for the final time in March 2011.
Andreas Agathou said that the airline’s departure from the Midlands was amicable, and Birmingham remains “close to our hearts.”