Cyprus Airways, a Larnaca-based Cypriot airline, received Russian authority’s permission to operate its winter season flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The air carrier was unable to complete some of its scheduled operations after being banned by the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency.
On December 4, 2020, Cyprus Airways announced that after more than two weeks of suspension, the airline would restart its planned weekly operations for the Larnaca (LCA) – Moscow Domodedovo (DME) route as well as Larnaca – St. Petersburg flights which were previously terminated by the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia.
“We are extremely happy that we managed to overcome the obstacles we recently faced with the Russian authorities for the operation of our flights to Moscow,” speaking to local media said George Mavrocostas, the Chief Operations Officer at Cyprus Airways.
Russian authorities banned Cyprus Airways flights from November 19, 2020. On the day, a regular Larnaca (LCA) – Moscow (DME) flight, registered as CY486, was canceled only half an hour before the scheduled departure without any prior notice, reported local media. However, none of the restrictions were placed for the returning Moscow (DME) – Larnaca (LCA) flight that day.
The Department of Civil Aviation of Cyprus contacted its Russian counterpart to clarify the reason for the cancelation. The Russian authority reportedly explained that the sharp decision was taken as a preventive measure to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country.
“We are extremely disappointed with the discrimination and unfair treatment of the Russian authorities against Cyprus Airways, taking into consideration that two Russian air carriers recently started operations on the route Moscow-Larnaca-Moscow without having similar restrictions by the Russian authorities,” said Mavrocostas speaking to the local media on the day of the confrontation.
Cyprus Airways’ new winter schedule was due to commence in late November 2020. The airline planned to operate a regular once weekly Larnaca – Moscow route until January 15 and Larnaca – St. Petersburg flights until January 21, 2020.