By Chris Elliott……..
A week ago a group of expatriate NGO’s invited by cyprusscene, went to meet with Ismet Esenyel, Undersecretary of the TRNC Ministry of Tourism and Environment to be given information and discuss the new travel arrangements which came into effect on 1st June 2017 in respect of flights to and from Ercan Airport via Turkey to the UK with Pegasus Airlines which require all passengers and their luggage to be taken off the aircraft and be re-screened before boarding an aircraft to continue their flight to the UK.
Flights from the UK to Ercan via Pegasus Airlines will follow the same procedures as flights from Ercan to the UK.
With Ismet Esenyel was Zeki Ziya – Director of Cyprus Xp Group which represents Pegasus Airlines in the TRNC and Orhan Tolun – President of Cyprus Turkish Tourism and Travel Agents Union (KITSAB) to clarify the changes in travel arrangements
Since then we have endeavoured to monitor various initiatives to seek clarification of the reasons for changes and have received many enquiries from individuals and organisations asking for more information and advice.
We would like to thank Fikri Toros, the President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce for clarifying the situation following the visit by High Commissioner H.E. Matthew Kidd to the Chamber to meet and clarify the situation to Fikri Toros, and Mr Zeki Ziya ( CEO of Cyprus XP Travel and Pegasus’ representative in North Cyprus ) and TCCC Secretary General, Mrs Aysun İleri.
High Commissioner H.E. Matthew explained that the request to Pegasus Airlines to adopt changes in their flight arrangements was requested by the authority within the UK Department of Transport was based upon technical issues as they have no visibility of the security applied at Ercan Airport and therefore have requested re-screening of passengers and their luggage at Turkish Airports to help counter the potential threats which are enacted by terrorists.
It should be noted that Pegasus Airlines carried 1.6 million passengers to and from Northern Cyprus in 2016 and they anticipated an increase in passengers carried in 2017 but the new flight arrangements for passengers who travelled with them in the past, when they remained on board aircraft, may result in passengers now considering visiting other destinations which will have an impact on Pegasus Airlines which is the main carrier to and from the TRNC and also the future of North Cyprus Tourism.