Cyprus has managed to achieve solutions so as to limit the effects from the implementation of the EU targets for reducing air pollution, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Yiannis Karousos, said on Monday before the House of Representatives' Committee on Finance.
The Minister, who presented his Ministry's budget for 2023, referred to the declaration of air connectivity by 2027 at EU level, saying that following a study and relevant proposals, Cyprus achieved solutions that were approved, recognising the special conditions of Cyprus and of the island regions.
He said that there will be a 100% subsidy of the difference of the price of conventional fuel and biofuel with free emission trading rights for airlines. He added that there were also some exemptions for airline refueling for countries such as Cyprus and Malta, as well as a commitment by the European Commission to prepare a report on the impact of its pollution policy on island connectivity.
Karousos also said that the liberalization of airport ground services has brought benefits to airlines due to the 50% reduction in costs. He highlighted the positive results from the implementation of the new 165 million euro incentive plans for 2023-27 and said that the three planes announced to be based in Cyprus will bring an increase of 1.3 million seats.
Thanks these developments he added, there was no increase in ticket prices in Cyprus compared to other countries.
The Minister said that the goal is to increase passenger traffic by 52% until 2027.
As regards air routes he said that there were 145 routes in 2022 plus seven announced a few days ago. He also spoke of an upward trend in cruises noting that bookings increased from 9,000 in 2019 to 188,000 in 2022, while for 2023 there are calls for 207 cruise ship arrivals compared to 106 in 2019.
Furthermore, the Minister referred to the development of the port and Marina of Larnaca, an investment of 1.2 billion euro and said that the benefit will reach 120 million euro per year. He added that 600 berths and 4,000 jobs will be created.
Regarding the Ministry's budget for 2023 he said it amounts to 469.45 million euro, which includes 35 million of co-financed projects. He noted that there is an upward trend in the Ministry's budget, which since 2015 has reached approximately 82%.
The Minister also announced a new grant for the purchase of electric vehicles amounting to 30 million to be announced in the coming weeks as well as a plan to withdraw polluting vehicles amounting to 15 million euro. The goal, he said, is that by 2035 all new registrations will be electric vehicles.