Following the news that Prime Minister Faiz Sucuoglu had, during his visit to Ankara, discussed with the Turkish Deputy Chairman of the AKP party, Binali Yıldırım, a proposal that Turkey incorporate flights to Ercan as part of its domestic route, questions have been raised as to how this can be managed. The aim of the proposal was to reduce the mounting cost of airfares. However, the idea has been met with scepticsm as no details of how this can be achieved have been given. Additionally, there have been accusations of attempting to turn the TRNC into a province of Turkey. These accusations have been strongly denied by the prime minister.
Yeniduzen has provided a breakdown of the costs of flying to Ercan via Turkey. The newspaper also spoke with the TRNC transport minister and the Director of Pegasus Airlines, North Cyprus.
The report said that when the Airports Services and Ports (Fees) Law was enacted in 2013 following the privatisation of Ercan while the UBP was in government, taxes were indexed to foreign currency. Airfares increased in tandem with the deprecation of the Turkish Lira.
Breakdown of Ticket Costs
A passenger who takes an Ercan-Istanbul-Ercan flight pays a service fee of 17.40 Euros to the airport operator as departure tax from Ercan, and pays 0.66 Euros for other expenses. This makes a total of 18.06 Euros.
For a flight from Istanbul to Ercan Airport, the passenger who pays 16 Euros to the airport operator in Istanbul pays 34.06 Euros, or 528 TL, as passenger tax.
The airline pays the airport operator a ‘landing fee’ of 4 Euros for every 1000 kilograms.
As an accommodation fee, it pays 1.5 Euros for every 1000 kilograms.
A refuelling concession fee is also collected from companies that receive refuelling services at the airport.
This fee is 4 Euros for every 1,000 litres sold. In addition, the Department is paid a safety measure service fee of 50 Euros for each hour or fraction of it, for the provision of safety measures for the aircraft by the fire brigade at the airports.
The airline pays 25 Euros as an approach fee for each touchdown. The airport operator also collects lighting fees from companies.
The lighting fee was determined as 35-five Euros for only one of each landing or take-off during the hours when the lighting systems were operating, depending on the sunset, sunrise or visibility.
How Can Airfares Be Reduced?
Yeniduzen asked the Minister of Public Works and Transport Resmiye Canaltay how airfares could be reduced. Canaltay said that Turkey adding Ercan as a domestic route was impossible and that it was against the regulations. He also said that the proposal had been misunderstood. The transport minister also pointed to the lack of competition as there were only two airlines landing in North Cyprus.
Canaltay said that Prime Minister Faiz Sucuoğlu wanted a study to be conducted on whether a ‘regulation of taxes’ could be made.
The transport minister stated that taxes are indexed to foreign currency and that their fixation in TL depends on the agreement between the aircraft companies and Turkey. Canaltay stated that if the study on taxes is undertaken, there will be a decrease in air ticket prices between 300-400 TL. “There is a problem of high air ticket prices, supply and demand. We have two [airline] companies. It would be better if the companies multiplied”.
Yeniduzen also spoke to the Director of Pegasus Airlines North Cyprus Zeki Ziya.
He said that it is not possible to implement the idea for Ercan Airport to be designated as a domestic route of Turkey. However, he noted that tax reductions could be made.
“Tax reductions can be made. But the state should show a source of financing for this,” he said. “Forty-eight percent of the taxes belong to the TRNC state. Let them give [those] up, the taxes will go down“, Ziya concluded.