Hermes Airports, which manages and operates Cyprus’ two international airports, on Thursday announced that it recorded a surge in passenger traffic during 2023, tallying over 11.6 million passengers by the end of the year.

This number signifies an average of 32,000 passengers per day throughout the year, soaring to 41,000 in summer and remaining robust at 18,000 in winter.

Moreover, this figure reflects a 3 per cent increase compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, representing the most exceptional performance ever charted by Cyprus Airports.

Maria Kouroupi, Senior Manager of Aviation Development and Communication of Hermes Airports stated that “despite adversities and continuous challenges, we managed to surpass the 2019 record and create a new milestone which will be established as a benchmark”.

“The increase in passenger traffic and the reinforcement of connectivity on an island like Cyprus create a stable foundation for the substantial development of various sectors of the economy,” she added.

“The country’s connectivity is on a solid base, and we look towards 2024 with optimism,” Kouroupi concluded.

Larnaca Airport emerged as a significant hub, witnessing 8.1 million passengers, marking a staggering 34 per cent increase over 2022, boasting an average load factor of 81 per cent.

At the same time, Paphos Airport recorded 3.6 million passengers, showcasing a notable 12 per cent upsurge compared to the previous year, maintaining an impressive average load factor of 89 per cent.

Operations were boosted by 52 airlines traversing 39 countries across 159 routes from these two airports combined.

The resurgence in tourism is largely credited to the revival of connections with traditional strongholds like the United Kingdom, coupled with substantial inroads into other markets.

Notably, 28 markets, representing a substantial 66 per cent of total passenger traffic, exhibited an upswing compared to 2019, with heightened traffic observed from countries including Poland, Italy, and Hungary, among others.

What is more, in an effort to bolster connectivity, 18 new destinations were introduced, reinforcing Cyprus’ ties with countries. These included Basil, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Naples, among others.

Additionally, the airlines expanded the frequency of existing flight schedules by an average of one flight per week throughout 2023, bolstering endeavours to boost established markets.

Hermes Airports attributed a pivotal role to its airline incentive scheme, which has seen an investment exceeding 120 million euros over the past decade.

The airport authority also conducted targeted digital marketing campaigns, aiming to elevate Cyprus as a premier tourist destination.

A particularly notable accomplishment for 2023, with promising implications for 2024, was the improvement of the winter flight schedule.

This expansion aims to position Cyprus as a year-round destination, presenting passengers with a diverse array of options.

The winter season of 2023-2024 boasts a remarkable 30 per cent increase in available airline seats compared to the corresponding period in 2019, equating to an average of 70 daily flights.

Finally, it was noted that the Larnaca and Paphos airports are set to host 30 airlines flying to 35 countries and 102 destinations during this winter season, further solidifying Cyprus’ standing as a global tourist hotspot.

(Cyprus Mail)