Dépêches

Challenge to Ban on Direct Flights to Northern Cyprus Will be Heard in High Court

Dépèche transmise le 17 avril 2009 par PRNewswire

LONDON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- There is an ongoing ban on direct flights between UK airports and Northern Cyprus. The ban, which has lasted 35 years, has caused considerable inconvenience to those travelling between the two countries on family, business, or holiday visits.

CTA and its UK tour operator, CTA Holidays Limited, have launched a legal challenge to the UK government's refusal of permission to operate direct flights between the two countries. The case will be heard in the Administrative Court, a division of the High Court, in the week beginning 18 May 2009.

Currently, CTA, together with all other airlines, must land in Turkey en route both to and from Northern Cyprus. This increases flight times and costs, but has absolutely no operational justification.

The UK Government has repeatedly said that it is in favour of direct flights if permitting them is consistent with its obligations in international law. The Government, however, has refused all Cyprus Turkish Airlines' applications, claiming that direct flights would be contrary to the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

CTA's position is that the Government has misunderstood the Chicago Convention or its impact on the legality of direct flights, and that the Government should therefore grant their applications. As it is, the legal requirement for passengers to land in Turkey en route to Northern Cyprus

- Results in higher air fares for travellers - Places unfair restrictions on Turkish Cypriot individuals and companies wishing to travel and conduct business with the EU and the rest of the world - Extends the distance and thus makes the journey longer. - Results in substantial additional carbon emissions from the unnecessary take-offs and landings.

CTA already flies around 100,000 visitors from the UK to Northern Cyprus each year, but the lack of direct flights deters tourists and places it at a competitive disadvantage. Northern Cyprus is an attractive destination because of its climate, beaches, unspoilt natural beauty and historical sites and has great potential as a tourist destination. The country also has a low cost of living which is a boon to British holiday-makers and expatriates.

CTA believes the ban on direct flights to and from Northern Cyprus - currently imposed by Britain's CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) - is both unlawful and unjust. By challenging it in the High Court, CTA is hoping to increase Northern Cyprus's growing potential as a Mediterranean holiday venue.

The implementation of the direct flights ban to and from Northern Cyprus and the resulting isolation and inconvenience has long been a contentious issue. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair re-stated the Government's position on direct flights during his visit to Turkey on 18th May 2004, when he said: "I think it is important, that we end the isolation of Northern Cyprus.....That means lifting the embargoes in respect to trade, and in respect to air travel."

However, since this statement was made, no progress has been achieved in restoring them.

Notes for editors:

1. Turkish Cypriots have been isolated by most of the international community since 1963 and deprived of direct flights since 1974. A UN plan for reunification was put to a referendum in 2004.

The Turkish Cypriots voted 'Yes', with 65 per cent in favour. Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriots rejected the settlement plan by 76 per cent majority. Following the referendum, the then Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, called for an end to the isolation of northern Cyprus. This would have included the resumption of direct flights.

2. The Court is unlikely to give judgment at or immediately after the hearing. A decision might still be a matter of months away, thus causing further delays and frustration for those planning to visit the country for their summer holidays or to see their relations.

For further information, contact: Max de Trense, Carteret Communications Email: trense@gmail.com

CONTACT: For further information, contact: Max de Trense, CarteretCommunications, Tel: +44(0)207-828-8598, M: +44(0)7795-204078, Email:

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