Tuesday, September 24, 2013

► EGYPT: Tourism downturn hits local carriers as MidWest suspends its AOC.

Egypt flagIt isn't just national carrier, Egyptair (MS), that is bearing the brunt of the downturn in Egypt's tourism downturn, with the country's local carriers now having also begun to reduce operations in light of weaker demand.

Sharm el Sheikh Airport (Yevgeny Ivanov)
Among the most recent casualties are Egypt's Midwest Airlines (MY), a charter operator that had focussed primarily on Egypt-European flights, which has had its Air Operators Certificate suspended after the return of their B737 fleet to the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) left the airline with no aircraft to speak of. The airline had planned to begin scheduled flights to Saudi Arabia during the latter part of this year.

In addition, it has also emerged that the private Alexandria-based carrier, AlMasria Universal Airlines (UJ), has now returned its two Airbus A320-200s, (MCN 932 | SU-TCA) & (MCN 943 | SU-TCB), to their lessors leaving it with a single A321-200 and another A320-200 on lease from BOC Aviation.

However, despite  Cairo's move to extend the country's state of emergency by another two months, one international tour operator has taken the plunge and announced a resumption of its services to the troubled North African state. Germany's Condor (DE) says it will resume its Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh operations from the end of September, following a decision by its tour-operator arm, Thomas Cook Germany, to restart operations in Egypt ahead of the peak winter sun season.