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Restoring Ferry Between Greece, Cyprus, Needs 5M Euros EU Subsidy

October 22, 2018

Any chance of bringing back a ferry linking Greece with Cyprus would need at least 5 million euros ($5.76 million) a year to cover losses as Cypriot officials petitioned for the resumption of the service.

Nicos Tornariteis and Annita Demetriou, Members of Parliament from Cyprus’ Democratic Rally (DISY) partyi made their case before the Cyprus-Greece Business Association, saying the ferry is needed, not just air links.

Tornaritis said Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades endorses the project and has given instructions to the Transportation Ministry and the Deputy Shipping Ministry to prepare a study to convince the EU to help pay for it, The Financial Mirror said.

But there’s less interest from businesses involved in shipping and tourism who doubt it can work and members of the Cyprus-Greece Business Association said there’s no hope without EU monies because of the estimated operating loss.

Without EU funding a ticket for a round trip to Greece on a passenger ferry may could cost as much as 800 euros (($921.22) almost 10 times the cost of the cheapest air ticket for a flight that takes only one hour and 45 minutes.

The estimate is based on a 100 people per trip with the petrol needed for the journey there and back costing €150,000 ($172,760) in fuel, said Salamis Shipping CEO, Kikis Vassiliou, who said a ferry able to make the trip through the Mediterranean at speeds which would make it worthwhile for travellers to go by sea, would cost as much as 40 million euros ($46.07 million).

“When a ticket to Athens costs as little as 50 euros, travellers will not opt to travel by sea and spend 20 hours at a cost which will be considerably higher,” said Vassiliou.
Salamis Tours operated the last ferry link to Greece from 1993-2000 when demand had faded out and trips stopped. Vassiliou explained that after airfares were liberalized in 2000, a series of airlines came to Cyprus and prices plummeted.

“This led travelers preferring to travel by plane, and us to deal with unfair competition. The port taxes alone cost more than air tickets, which are 45 EUR at each port for each person. Following this development, we were forced to sell those ferries for scrap at humiliating prices,” said Vassiliou.

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