The Nicosia FIR, the easternmost of Europe, is recognised as being of strategic importance, providing services for 400,000 flights carrying over 60 million persons per year, with an expected annual increase of 4%, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said.
Addressing an event on Wednesday evening to mark ten years since the establishment of the Mediterranean Flight Safety Foundation in Cyprus, President Anastasiades said almost all flights from Israel and Lebanon to Europe use the Nicosia FIR, while all overflights of Turkish companies to Africa pass from it, communicating with the legal Control Centre and paying fees.
The President said that the government, acknowledging the importance of the FIR, is working to improve the civil aviation sector, so that it can address international challenges and fulfil its regional role.
President Anastasiades noted that the Ankara Control Centre ignores international and European regulations and refuses to communicate with the Nicosia Control Centre regarding flights in and out of the two FIR. Furthermore, the illegal centre in Tympos provocatively violates Cyprus’ air space without any coordination and outside international legality.
One should add to this, he said, the prohibition of the use of the Turkish air space by Cyprus-registered aircraft and companies.
The President said that unfortunately, Turkey continues to refuse to meet its obligations towards ICAO, of which it is a member.
President Anastasiades expressed sorrow over the situation and noted that this was not the only violation taking place. “We are witnesses of what is happening in the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone,” he pointed out.
He reaffirmed the government’s determination to strive on the basis of international law and the acquis communautaire to reach a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem, which would also lift Turkey’s illegalities.
In his address, President Anastasiades also said that the two state-of-the-art airports in Cyprus facilitate flights to and from 120 destinations by 70 companies based in 40 different countries, noting that in 2018 alone about 11 million passengers used the airports.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.