Monarch Airlines reports selling half the seats on a new Birmingham service to Larnaca this summer in advance of commencing flights last weekend.

The airline sold more than 10,500 of the 22,000 seats before launch and if those sales are mirrored elsewhere, Cyprus could defy fears of a downturn due to the unfavourable exchange rate.

Monarch Airlines managing director Tim Jeans said: “There was concern about Cyprus now it is in the euro zone. But these sales would be good in any climate. It is remarkable in current times – a ray of sunshine in a sea of gloom.”

Jeans said 90% of the sales had come online, involving “a lot of dynamic packaging”.

The Birmingham-Larnaca service operates twice a week on Wednesday and Sunday until late October and has been on sale since November. Monarch is likely to double the frequency for next summer and is reviewing whether to go year round.

However, Jeans said: “It would be wrong to say it is all fantastic [in the travel market]. There is a lot of pressure on margins. Average selling prices are up, but costs are up year on year, too.”