Expansion of St. Catherine Int'l Airport to broaden access to iconic tourist destination: Minister

Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Jul 2023

The ongoing expansion of the St. Catherine International Airport in South Sinai promises to put the remote village at the base Mt. Sinai – where Moses is purported to have received the Ten Commandments – within reach of even more tourists from Egypt and around the world.

Sinai s St. Catherine International Airport
File Photo: South Sinai s St. Catherine International Airport during. Photo courtesy of Civil Aviation Ministry.


The expansion will give the airport a new runway, enlarge the terminal, and improve its facilities, according to a statement from Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Helmy on Thursday.

The new runway will be 3,000 metres long and include an expanded apron with space for eight aircraft.

The new terminal will be able to accommodate 600 passengers per hour. It will also feature international and domestic departure and arrival lounges, as well as a VIP lounge.

Also under construction are a port security building and an air traffic control tower, said the statement.

These upgrades aim to transform the airport into an international hub, offering a seamless and enjoyable experience for global travellers.

The  Great Transfiguration Project was launched in 2020 to turn St. Catherine into a leading destination for religious, environmental, and therapeutic tourism by improving the remote village’s infrastructure, utilities, and amenities.

Arish Airport development

Also on Thursday, the civil aviation minister announced the ongoing development of Arish International Airport to better serve North Sinai’s capital city.

The development includes the construction of a new passenger terminal with a capacity of 600 passengers per hour and the improvement of some existing buildings, the minister said.

The main runway is being expanded to 3,000 metres long and 45 metres wide. When complete, its apron will be able to accommodate 11 aircraft.

Helmy explained that the development will increase domestic and international air traffic to Arish, supporting both tourism and investment in the region.

Egypt has been working to ensure the recovery of the tourism industry, one of the country’s leading economic sectors and an important source of hard currency, after it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war

As many as 7 million tourists visited Egypt during the first half of 2023, with flights to the country surging by 29 percent between January and June of 2023, reaching a total of 191,000 flights, during the same timeframe.

Egypt expects to receive 15 million tourists in 2023. If the figure is met, it will break the record of 14.7 million tourists set in 2010.

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