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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

■ EGYPT: Despite heavy sustained losses, Fadel outlines his longterm vision for Egyptair.

EgyptairEgyptian Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr Abdul Aziz Fadel, says the current Egyptian government is determined to map out the future for a New Egypt by leveraging the country's aviation and tourism sectors to help kick start the stalled economy. The minister's comments come against the back drop of plunging tourist arrivals caused by the country's ongoing political and social unrest which thus far have cost national carrier, Egyptair (MS), "considerable losses". Previous reports stated the national airline's arrivals had dropped 10% since the military coup of July 3 and the ensuing civil unrest. 

Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptair has struggled financially posting more than USD880million in loses. Prior to July, deposed Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation, Engineer Wael El-Maadawy, had projected Egyptair's losses this Financial Year to narrow to "less than USD214million (EGP1.5billion), compared to USD428million (EGP3billion) posted in the last fiscal year," though this is now likely to prove unrealistic.

On the airline's long term plans, Mr Fadel said the challenges posed by the current situation would not hinder his government from looking to a better tomorrow and to continue planning and executing large projects for the welfare of the civil aviation sector. Among these large projects are the planned increase in Egyptair's fleet to 150 aircraft by 2020 and to 200 by 2050. The fleet currently consists of 13 A320s, four A321s, 20 B737-800s, eleven A330s, four B777-200ERs and six B777-300ERs with both 787s and the A350 having been considered as replacements for the long haul fleet. Subsidiary Egyptair Express (MSE) operates 12 E170s.

In line with this envisaged long term growth, he added that Egyptian airports will be enlarged to handle 35million passengers per annum with Cairo Airport's Terminal 2, currently being renovated and expanded by Turkey's  Limak Holdings, to play a crucial role alongside the airport's Aerotropolis proposal, dubbed Cairo AeroCity.

Several other major projects are also in their final stages of development, among them a new hotel of Airotel - a subsidiary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation - that is connected to Cairo International's Terminal 3 and whose soft opening is expected in November.

Mr Ragia El Gayar,  Airotel's chairman, said: 
"The new hotel has 349 rooms including 18 suites  and one presidential suite, it is also furnished with 4 main restaurants as well as wedding and meeting hall that can accommodate up to 400 people, in addition to many service and recreational sites." He added that "final preparations for launching the hotel are in progress, it was designed up to the international level of Le Meridian hotel chain in terms of colors, decor and rooms’ accommodations."
It is worth mentioning that the new hotel is connected with Terminal 3 through the pedestrian bridge that connects the hotel and the airport halls, it is also connected to Terminal 2 which saves time and effort for passengers at Cairo International Airport

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