Cyprus Airways operates flights to Europe and the Middle East with a team of over 100 passionate people based at Larnaca International Airport. All Cyprus Airways flights operate on Airbus A320 aircraft with a capacity of 180 Economy Class seats each. The company’s long-term goal is to contribute to the increase of the economy and more specifically tourism in Cyprus, while at the same time broadening the horizon for local travelers.
We interviewed Paul Sies, the airline’s CEO and CCO who joined Cyprus Airways in May 2022. He has an extensive experience in aviation, holding senior leadership positions at airlines such as Air Malta, fly bmi, Virgin Express, but also working in airports (Liege), and with a series of other companies from across the sector.
How has Cyprus’ air connectivity been recovering since the COVID-19 crisis?
It’s not only the Covid 19 Crisis, but also a radical shift in the type of visiting tourist since the start of the war in Ukraine. The country has had to reinvent its tourism sector, which used to be heavily dependent on Russian travelers. It did a remarkable job both reinstating air connectivity and penetrating new markets simultaneously. Most of this was driven by adding Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) capacity and charters. While this type of connectivity serves the peak seasons, unfortunately it serves the winter tourism and business travel segments to a lesser extent. This is precisely where Cyprus Airways comes in. As the sole Cypriot carrier serving Cyprus, it is carefully building structural connectivity to key gateways in Europe, facilitating new tourist markets, but also the ‘visiting friends and relatives’ segment, and business traffic.
Why is a flag carrier important for Cyprus?
The island cannot rely on train, road or even marine connectivity so the only sure way to get there is by air. Many legacy carriers and LCCs operate into Cyprus but do so totally driven by opportunity. From July to October, you will find many flights, however not always ideally timed for all types of travelers. The seasonality curve is about 65% winter vs. summer, leaving the island insufficiently connected many months of the year. It becomes a chicken and egg situation, as the absence of flights leads to hospitality closing, and because of the lack of hospitality, airlines do not invest in flights.
Cyprus Airways is breaking this situation by slowly increasing winter destinations, capacity, and frequency, increasing the country’s connectivity, which, in turn, is making hospitality providers enthusiastic about opening during the winter. Cyprus Airways flies the flag of Cyprus and facilitates connectivity, leading to economic growth, in cooperation with local authorities and organizations.
With regards to Covid, while the world shut down and the other airlines in Cyprus closed shop and sent everyone home, Cyprus Airways continued operating repatriation and medical flights, providing essential connectivity to and from the island.
How does Cyprus Airways intend to deliver its new strategic plan to offer customers a low-cost base, but also enable them to upgrade services according to their needs?
We operate a totally unbundled product, providing the opportunity to buy just a seat or add multiple perks to your travel. This is not unique; however, it gives people choices other airlines do not offer. Our pricing strategy is very easy and straightforward - we should always be among the 5 best offers on a route.
We have just signed an agreement with FlyrLabs, which will offer its AI suite of Revenue Management and Ancillary Revenue Management to optimize our inventory and have our flights optimized vs. competition, strategy and demand 24/7.
The aviation industry is committed to Fly Net Zero in 2050. What role can Cyprus Airways and the country play in delivering this objective?
Very soon you will hear about the pivotal role Cyprus Airways will play in working towards a net-zero emissions operation. We are in a quite unique situation where the Cyprus Government allows to offset the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel with 100% carbon credits, and we intend to use a mix of up to 20% SAF, allowing Cyprus Airways to be well ahead of others in this domain. Furthermore, we will be announcing our order of the newest generation of aircraft with a 40% reduction of emissions vs. our current fleet. Sustainability will be key in the development of Cyprus Airways, making it an example for the industry.