Government: We have a comprehensive strategy to address flight safety risks in Nicosia FIR

The Government has a comprehensive strategy to address and eliminate risks to flight safety in Nicosia FIR resulting from Turkey’s continuous illegal actions, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromos said on Friday, on the sidelines of a seminar on flights safety organized by the Mediterranean Flight Safety Foundation and the European Association of Aviation Training Organsiations.

On flight safety risks in possible war operations in the wider region of Cyprus, he said that although there were concerns, there was also supervision and the necessary preventive measures for the safe continuation of flights are being taken.

Speaking during the seminar on behalf of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, he referred to the dangers in air safety, resulting from Turkey’s attitude, which refuses to cooperate with Cyprus’ air traffic control authorities, contrary to the relevant provisions of the ICAO Convention.

We shall continue to make every effort in that respect and we expect the international community and all those involved in aviation to do likewise in a practical and effective manner. Nobody is entitled to simply allow the present situation to continue. The fact that no accidents have happened so far should not lead to complacency, he added.

He also highlighted the dangers arising from the operation of the illegal airport and the air traffic control centre in Cyprus’ northern Turkish occupied areas. Furthermore, the Spokesman referred to the centre’s interference with flights in Nicosia FIR and to flights by the Turkish air force in Nicosia FIR without any coordination with the legal aviation authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

Moreover, he noted the illegal issuing of NOTAMS by Ankara and the fact that Turkey, which does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, prohibits Cypriot airlines to use its airspace.

Regrettably, these illegal actions of Turkey create serious dangers to the safety of millions of passengers ( the majority of them European ), who travel on flights using Nicosia FIR, he pointed out.

The position of the Government of Cyprus on this issue, he pointed out, is based on political exploitation or political expediency but it aims to ensure the safety of millions of passengers and flights within the internationally recognized Nicosia FIR.

He also said that the government was in the final stages of restructuring and upgrading the Civil Aviation Department, in order to maximize its flexibility and overall efficiency, as well as improve its operation. A new state-of-the-art air traffic control system would be installed soon, he added, complementing the modern radars and other facilities which are already in place.

Replying to questions regarding concerns on flight safety arising from possible war operations in the region, Prodromou stressed that so far air traffic in the region of Cyprus has not been disrupted and expressed hope that this would continue to be so. The spokesman said that what was happening in the region of Cyprus was certainly a cause for concern.

“We are talking about war operations and possible military operations. But of course, there is monitoring and the necessary precautionary measures for the safe continuation of flights are in place,” he noted.

As he said EUROCONTROL and the competent authorities were monitoring the situation in cooperation with the international authorities to ensure the safety of flights.

Prodromou said that Cyprus, as the only country in the region that was a Member of the European Union and EUROCONTROL, can and is willing to play a leading role in facilitating regional cooperation.

He said that Cyprus, as a Member of ICAO, the EU and EUROCONTROL, fully adhered to international law and the regulations of all these Institutions and was active in promoting their policies, especially those relating to regional cooperation.

Cyprus, Italy, Greece and Malta, he noted, participate in the Single European Sky Programme, which is the most important pillar of the EUs strategy in aviation.

Source: Cyprus News Agency