New national airline is top priority

A new national carrier for North Cyprus could be on the agenda as part of plans to boost tourism in the country and push down ticket prices.

A leading politician campaigning for this development has already registered the name “Cyprus Turkish Airlines International” abroad.

Democrat Party-National Forces (DP-UG) chairman Serdar Dentash revealed: “We have already registered the name Cyprus Turkish Airlines International abroad.

We are very sensitive on this issue and we have put this as a priority into our manifesto. We are talking with investors and have spoken with aviation officials who have advised that we can start the airline with just three aircraft.

There is a need to take out the necessary permissions and slots. We want to involve all sectors to ensure the government does not use the airline as its own plaything- which was the reason for the collapse of CTA”.

Buran Atakan chairman of the union representing aviation workers (Hava-sen), welcomed the move saying: “Mr Denktash has always shown great passion for North Cyprus to have its own national carrier.

We welcome this initiative and will be meeting with him and the head of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) who has also told us of their interest in taking this initiative if they come to government.

At present, we miss having CTA. Its absence has resulted in a monopoly being given to the private sector with ticket prices to London costing up to 1,599TL return. You cannot attract tourists with such ticket prices.

The type of partnership between the state and private sectors has to be worked on when deciding how to structure the new airline. But the first steps by Mr Denktash are very welcome indeed”.

CTP chairman Ozkan Yorganciolu said: “We pledge that if we come to government after the election, we will start investigations as to how we can form a new national airline.

“This is something we all want in our hearts.

“But we cannot state for sure what will happen until feasibility research is carried out. But we are certainly willing to take the initiative”.

Work to form a part-private, par-public North Cyprus Airlines, with the backing of Turkish Airlines, in 2011, fell apart after a dispute between the previous government and private sector shareholders.

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