Egyptair promotes Cairo hub as “Gateway to Africa”

The national airline of Egypt, Egyptair, is planning to increase hub traffic passing through its new T3 terminal at Cairo airport from 4-6 per cent last year to 30 per cent by the end of 2011.

Capitalising both on its wide list of onward destinations in Africa, and its new aircraft plying routes such as London, the Star Alliance member has recently announced new flights to Copenhagen from October 1, departing three times weekly, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday using B737-800 with 24 business and 120 economy class seats. The Copenhagen-bound flights depart Cairo at 1000 and arrive at 1345, with the return leg departing Copenhagen at 1445 and arriving in Cairo at 2020.

Speaking with Business Traveller at the TAM inauguration last week (see online news May 13), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hussein Massoud said that the airline is focusing on the premium passenger from Europe as well as increasing frequencies for the large national population wanting links throughout Africa. The airline currently flies to 16 destinations in Africa, with some impressive frequencies, including 21 departures weekly to Khartoum, for instance, and has plans to fly to Accra.

Egyptair is promoting its new economy and business class seating on its new delivery B777-300ER and A330-300 aircraft, as it competes head-to-head with British Airways on the London-Cairo route. Egyptair currently flies daily between the two cities (twice daily on Fridays), but has hopes for two new slots as a result of Star Alliance cooperation, though nothing firm has been announced yet.

The airline has ordered six of the B777-300ER aircraft and as these arrive through this year they will be employed on Tokyo Narita (three times weekly) and then New York JFK from December 4. London will lose its B777-300ER on September 1 as it is swapped with a new A330-200 (also with the new economy and lie-flat business class product and seating a total of 246 passengers) and long-haul destinations planned include Washington, Chicago and Toronto, according to CEO Massoud.

For more details on Cairo airport’s new terminal, read From dust to dawn in the May 2010 edition of Business Traveller.

Report by Tom Otley