I saw this article below today and it now makes me wonder just how many operators are flying into Cyprus these days, particularly after the amalgamation of Thomson and First Choice, it sort of narrows things down considerably!
My parents will fly out from Manchester to Larnaca on 2nd November but luckily, I’ve always found cheaper flights with Monarch for them and with good daytime flights too so it looks like they will be okay, which is more than can be foretold for those who already have tickets booked departing after 31st October 2011.
CYPRUS AIRWAYS (CY) has axed flights to Manchester, scheduling the last Larnaca-Manchester flight for the end of the month and leaving customers scrambling for new flights.
The airline’s management decided last Friday to cut the four flights a week from Larnaca to Manchester as of October 31, citing low bookings, but has yet to issue a public announcement, leaving holiday-makers and customers guessing as to what will happen to their already purchased tickets.
The news comes on the back of decisions taken earlier this summer to slash flights across the board, with Paphos airport suffering the most from the route shakeup.
The national carrier decided in July to suspend flights from Paphos to Heathrow and Thessaloniki from the end of October while cutting flights to Amsterdam by half.
According to the new schedule, there will be no CY aircraft touching down or taking off from Paphos airport between November 25 and February 17, 2012, as the one remaining CY route in the island’s western airport – to and fro from Amsterdam – will not operate at all during the winter period.
CY spokesman Kyriacos Kyriacou yesterday confirmed rumours on online forums used mostly by British expats that the Manchester flight was about to be axed.
“The decision was taken by the commercial department last Friday. No announcement has been made, though we are in the process of informing our call centre and travel agents who will in turn get in touch with customers who have already bought tickets for the route,” he said.
“It’s simply not profitable for the company (to continue the Manchester route). It’s the longest non-stop destination we have. The price of fuel has gone up a lot and the bookings do not justify continuing this route,” he said.
“Apart from when students come back to the island, we have very low numbers on the flights and are losing a lot of money,” he added.
Following the latest decision, the national airline now offers less than 20 destinations.
The last flight to Manchester will be on October 31, though the route will operate again for a short period over the Christmas holidays – from December 14 to January 8 – to meet the peak in demand.
According to Kyriacou, those who have already purchased tickets will eventually be contacted by the airline’s call centre or their travel agents and informed of their options. Ticket-holders will be offered the choice of either flying to Manchester via London using British Midlands or via Amsterdam with KLM, or a full refund.
One customer who has already purchased over a dozen tickets to Manchester covering the period until next summer said she was disappointed to have to learn about the axe via posts on an online forum.
“The implications are massive for people. Why wasn’t the public informed and instead had to find out through word of mouth?” asked the customer who wished to remain anonymous.
She further questioned the argument that numbers were down, noting that in the last year, the plane was nearly full for all five flights taken to and from Manchester, the last one being in early September.
The news also sparked upset on expat forum, Cyprus Eastern Message Board, which had numerous posts discussing the email one customer received after trying to book a flight to Manchester online only to find that the option had disappeared.
One person posted: “I can’t believe they haven’t let people know! I booked flights months ago for my sister’s wedding in April. Absolutely gutted.”
Another lamented the move, saying CY was “one of the best airlines I’ve ever been lucky enough to fly with,” adding: “This will be a great loss for us, I haven’t yet found a better airline to Manchester and I’ve flown with the whole sorry bunch.”
For more information on the axed route, customers can contact the CY call centre on 80000008
This information was provided by the Cyprus Mail online newspaper.