Transport ministry lauds record-breaking first half of 2024 with 5.1 million passengers

Transport ministry lauds record-breaking first half of 2024 with 5.1 million passengers

The Transport Ministry on Wednesday said that passenger numbers at Larnaca and Paphos airports rose to 1,300,041 visitors during June, reflecting a 5.04 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

“Passenger traffic for the first half of the year has outperformed previous historical records, approaching 5.1 million passengers,” the ministry added in an official statement.

This positive trend was evident at both Larnaca and Paphos airports, with Larnaca experiencing a robust 6 per cent increase, while Paphos saw a more modest rise of 2.99 per cent.

Similarly, flight operations followed this upward trend, with aircraft traffic expanding by 4.2 per cent to reach 9,347 flights compared to the previous year.

These figures are supported by the latest figures from Hermes Airports, which manages both the Larnaca and Paphos international airports.

According to Hermes Airports, air passenger traffic for the year is expected to slightly surpass 2023’s figures, suggesting a tourism season that may well exceed the record-breaking year of 2019.

Back in 2023, Cypriot airports handled 11.6 million passengers, and this year’s projections stand optimistically at 11.87 million, facilitated by 153 routes operated by 56 airlines from 38 countries.

Larnaca is set to handle 8.27 million passengers from 95 routes, while Paphos is expected to cater to 3.6 million from 58 routes.

At the beginning of the year, initial forecasts for 2024 were less optimistic, predicting a downturn due to a shortage of available aircraft and reduced flights from Israel.

However, this outlook has since improved, thanks to the addition of new aircraft from Wizz Air and a resurgence in the Israeli market.

In the first half of 2024, passenger traffic at both airports reached a total of 5.1 million, showing a 5.3 per cent increase from the previous year.

Larnaca handled 3.5 million of these travellers, while Paphos accounted for 1.6 million. In June alone, there was a 3 per cent rise in traffic, with 1.3 million passengers passing through the airports.

The UK continues to be the leading market, accounting for 27 per cent of passenger traffic, followed by Greece with 18 per cent. Israel has shown remarkable recovery, achieving 87 per cent of its previous year’s figures, while Poland (7 per cent) and Germany (5 per cent) also feature prominently among the top five markets.

As the summer season advances, Hermes Airports reported a steady increase in traffic, which is expected to reach its peak in mid-August.

Enhancements to this year’s schedule include exciting new destinations such as Belfast, Radom, Kos, Nantes, and Tallinn from Larnaca, as well as Liverpool and Tallinn from Paphos.

Hermes Airports also expects that passenger traffic during the winter months (November to March) will hit an unprecedented high this year, surpassing the levels seen in 2019.

This season, about 2.87 million passengers are expected to travel to and from Cyprus, making up 24.2 per cent of the year’s total traffic.

For comparison, the winter of 2019 saw 2.54 million passengers (22.5 per cent of annual traffic), while 2023 saw 2.77 million (23.9 per cent). During this period, 30 airlines will operate routes connecting Cyprus with 33 countries.

Hermes Airports executives have highlighted the potential for Cyprus to become a year-round destination.

They emphasised the need to enhance the traveller’s experience by increasing activities and ensuring hotels remain operational throughout the year.

Notably, Paphos demonstrates strong winter performance, largely because its hotels continue to operate, attracting more visitors.

From January to April 2024, Cyprus’ tourism sector experienced a robust increase in revenue, amassing €440.7 million—a notable rise of 5.5 per cent compared to the €417.6 million recorded over the same period in 2023, according to the Cyprus Statistical Service’s travellers survey.

Despite the influence of Catholic Easter, which typically impacts holiday spending patterns, revenues in April remained relatively stable at €217.4 million, marking a marginal decline of just 0.1 per cent from the previous year (€217.6 million).

April’s data on per capita spending reveals an encouraging trend, showing a rise in tourist expenditure by 2.6 per cent to €651.69, up from €634.89 in the previous year.

Diving deeper into the data, British tourists, who accounted for a substantial 35.3 per cent of all tourists in April, spent an average of €81.21 per day.

Israeli tourists, the second-largest group at 10.7 per cent, exhibited significantly higher daily spending at €140.03.

Polish visitors, making up 7.6 per cent of the tourist population, also spent generously, averaging €80.67 per day.

Swiss tourists led with a notable daily expenditure of €144.35, followed closely by Belgians at €141.70, and Israelis.

In contrast, tourists from Greece, Italy, and Sweden were more conservative in their spending, with daily expenditures of €43.28, €74.11, and €76.93, respectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *