Work on the new runway and terminal at Ercan airport has been completed and the opening date has been set for 29 October, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar has said.
The project which will cost 300 million euros, is being run by T&T, a group of Turkish companies Tasyapi and Terminal Yapi. T&T will have build-operate-transfer rights on the airport for 25 years.
The prime minister said that on completion, Ercan would comply with all international safety standards and would be suitable for direct flights.
He also criticised British High Commissioner to Cyprus Stephen Lillie’s comments to Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeni Duzen’ when he said the thought that it was unrealistic to expect direct trade and direct flights between North Cyprus and the UK. Tatar said that he had been in contact with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was reportedly in favour of lifting embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots.
The TRNC government believes that direct flights can be operated from Ercan based on the Chicago Convention* providing they comply with international safety standards.
*If it is assumed that the Chicago Convention is applicable to northern Cyprus, the question then arises whether the Republic of Cyprus can exercise contractual rights arising from the Convention for airports in northern Cyprus that are outside its control. State practice shows that the exercise of contractual rights not requiring any territorial control only requires recognition of the authority exercising those rights as the de jure government of the contracting state. 45. As already mentioned, mere designation as a customs airport does not require control of the airport. It is therefore at the discretion of the (Greek Cypriot) Government of the Republic of Cyprus whether or not to declare the airports in northern Cyprus customs airports. 46. In a letter dated 29 December 1986, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) refused to name Ercan airport an international airport, on the grounds that:
“ICAO recognises the government of the Republic of Cyprus as the only legitimate government of that State … (and) the government of the Republic of Cyprus has not requested the inclusion of Ercan Airport in the ICAO Regional Plan and, as such, it is not and cannot be considered an international airport in ICAO terms” (Editor’s note).
Source: Air Traffic with Non-Recognised States: the Case of Northern Cyprus Stefan Talmon, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.), LL.M. (Cantab.) Associate Professor, University of Tübingen Fellow, St Anne’s College, Oxford.