Dutch airline KLM will no longer fly the once busy route between Amsterdam and Cairo effective January 2017.
It is unclear when KLM might restart the route – see later.
The breaking news appears on Dutch aviation website luchtvaartnieuws.nl
At the present time KLM is operating the route four times a week using a B787. But in better times the carrier used to operate a daily service.
Luchtvaartnieuws reports that KLM’s final flight to Cairo will operate on January 6 with a return to Amsterdam on January 7.
After that date KLM will be relying on partner Air France to carry its passengers to Cairo.
But that means that travellers originating in Amsterdam will then have to change planes at Paris CDG.
Egyptair also operates non-stop flights between Amsterdam and Cairo. It is expected these will continue.
Initially it was thought that KLM was dropping its Cairo service because of a decline in passenger numbers.
But it appears that another, perhaps more important, reason is the weak local currency and the fact that the Central Bank of Egypt is making is difficult for Air France-KLM to remit earnings from Egypt to their home bases.
According to reports, Air France-KLM have earnings worth millions of dollars which they are prevented from transferring out of Egypt.
“The devaluation of the Egyptian pound and the decision of the Central Bank of Egypt to impose restrictions on the transfer of foreign currency out of Egypt have a negative impact on results of KLM.”
Foreign carriers gain much transfer business from their Cairo operations. They are not simply selling Cairo-Amsterdam or Cairo-London tickets.
In other words, KLM hopes that the passenger originating in Cairo will just as likely be continuing his or her journey beyond Amsterdam to, for example, Edinburgh, Copenhagen or New York.
And KLM’s flight schedules out of Egypt (depart Cairo 03:30 and arrive Amsterdam 08:15) prove my point.
Airlines face problems with currency remittances when a country’s currency becomes very weak. Venezuela is a good example at the present time.
Will other foreign airlines follow in KLM’s footsteps ?