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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-11-08

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    A new age of innovation and development in air transportation began in Cyprus on Saturday 7th November 2009, as the new 656,3 million euro Larnaka International Airport was inaugurated by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias. Operations will officially begin on Tuesday.

    As of Tuesday, only flights by Cyprus and easyJet will go in and out of the new airport. All other airlines will transfer their arrivals and departures to the new airport by November 17.

    In his speech, President Chrsitofias said the new airport would play a significant role in establishing Cyprus as a key transit point for decades to come. He noted that today is a landmark, not just in the history of Cypriot tourism, but also the countrys developmental infrastructure in its entirety.

    Christofias also noted that with its operation, we feel the new Larnaka Airport guarantees that Cyprus plays a significant role in the broader Eastern Mediterranean area.

    He said that the airport would help Cyprus emerge from the grip of the financial crisis, while he ensured that the government takes necessary measures to ease the consequences.

    Minister of Communications and Works Nicos Nicolaides said that with the operation of the new terminal at Larnaka Airport a new era starts in our communications link with the rest of the world, a new era in the sector of air transport that will provide decisive support for the economy and tourism of our island.

    Nicolaides noted that ``today we take a defining step towards the implementation of the policy of our government to turn Cyprus into a transit hub between Europe and the Middle East. This target is part of our wider strategy for development and modernization. Through new infrastructure and new approaches Cyprus may attract new investments and new business activities that will allow us to proceed to a new course of economic and social development, which will benefit the people of Cyprus as a whole,`` he added.

    French Minister of State responsible for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche said it was highly appreciated by the French government that a French operator was selected for such an endeavour, which is the largest ever French direct investment in Cyprus.

    He also noted that this event is a very good demonstration of the wide-range of the bilateral relationship between France and Cyprus, a relationship that is built on shared values and has deepened over the last ten years

    He also conveyed a message of friendship by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the people of France to President Christofias and the people of Cyprus.

    Nicos Shacolas, chairman of the operator Hermes Airports, assured Cyprus President Demetris Christofias that Hermes Airports will continue with the same consistency, passion and unabated interest and enthusiasm its creative cooperation.

    He noted the fact that the airport was delivered without any delay, noting that its construction constitutes one of the biggest investments ever made in Cyprus without any governmental funding and guarantees.

    He also announced that at least five new airlines would be using Larnaka airport in coming weeks.

    Hermes Airports Vice-Chairman Daniel Rigout of the French construction group Bouygues Batiment International said the proof of the fulfillment of all our engagements stands today before you, and we are extremely proud to have contributed to this project and in doing so, making available all the resources of the Bouygues Group.

    He noted that we wanted to make this place a significant gateway to Cyprus, a place that would be unique and that, beyond the quality of its technologies, had a soul, adding that we also paid particular attention to the sustainable development aspects in the design and in the construction, and we have the ambition within the next months, with the help of all concerned parties, to complete this Project with a unique installation in Europe, enabling a significant production of electricity by a Solar Plant.

    He added that this new Airport represents another example of the great willingness for cooperation between our nations, especially France and the Republic of Cyprus.

    Cypriot EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou assured in her speech that the European Commission will continue to support all efforts for the successful operation of the new airport. She said that the new Airport is something that everyone was waiting for not only in Cyprus but in Europe as well, as it constitutes a strategic point for entering Europe and a hub in the Middle East and a connection point between the East and West.

    Mayor of Larnaka Andreas Moiseos said that that the benefits for the Cypriot economy as well as for the town of Larnaka from the operation of the new airport will be huge. He also noted that the quality of services would be upgraded as regards both the transportation of people and the transport of goods.

    A musical performance by the Police Philharmonic Band was followed by a blessing from Archbishop Chrysostomos II and more musical events before the speeches. The event wrapped up with a dance theatre performance.


    France gave on Saturday its full and unreserved backing to the ongoing efforts for the reunification of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    ``France supports fully and unreservedly the will and the efforts assumed to find the paths to the reunification of Cyprus,`` French Minister of State for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche said addressing the inauguration ceremony of the new Larnaka International Airport on Saturday.

    Lellouche commended Cyprus President Demetris Christofia`s efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem, adding that France as a UN Security Council permanent member and as an EU member-state supports the negotiating process assumed by the Cypriots.

    France wishes that the UN-led process and for which President Christofias works hard would lead to a solution agreed by the Cypriots as soon as possible, Lellouche went on to say.


    US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon has said that there is a window of opportunity regarding the Cyprus question, because of the confluence of several factors.

    Responding to questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, Gordon said ``there remain important differences on both sides,`` adding that the United States policy is to support the process as they can. ``We continue to support the development of a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus,`` he added.

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