FOCUS SHORT

Košice seeks new air link to London

KOŠICE, which is one of two holders of the title European City of Culture 2013, wants to be connected by air with London in order to attract more foreign tourists. Košice Turizmus, the local destination management company, is offering subsidies to stimulate air carriers to open the line, the local Korzár daily wrote on April 9.

KOŠICE, which is one of two holders of the title European City of Culture 2013, wants to be connected by air with London in order to attract more foreign tourists. Košice Turizmus, the local destination management company, is offering subsidies to stimulate air carriers to open the line, the local Korzár daily wrote on April 9.

Košice Turizmus, an organisation which groups local administration offices, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and other tourism-related organisations, is offering the local airport support of up to €445,000 from August 2013 until the end of 2014 in return for finding an air carrier. This means the airport should get €25 for each person arriving from London to Košice by plane. If the contract is extended for 2015, the incentive would be over €9 per passenger.

According Tomáš Jančuš, a member of Košice Airport’s board of directors, there is huge competition in the air business.

“Lesser known airports do not even get a chance to present themselves to air companies without [subsidies],” Jančuš told the daily.

The destination management organisation would like to see a low-cost air carrier run the line. Based on the planned contract, the air carrier should fly between Košice and London at least twice a week and the capacity of the planes used would allow for at least 200 incoming passengers per week.
Iveta Niňajová, the head of Košice Turizmus, sees an air connection with London as of strategic importance.

“London is a base for tour operators bringing to Europe visitors from Asia as well as South America and these make up the biggest share of visit rates in European cities,” Niňajová told Korzár, adding that surveys indicate that a line to London has the best precondition for being used by travelling businesspeople, travellers spending extended weekends in the city and holidaymakers.

The price of flights remains to be decided, but the new air carrier would be cheaper than the current London-Vienna-Košice air connection, on which tickets costs about €400. Košice citizens are reckoned to be willing to pay €100-€300 for a flight to London.

For now, the only direct flights to and from Košice are to Prague, Bratislava and Vienna. Košice Turizmus also would like to see a direct flight to Germany.

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