Egypt considers 'gradual resumption' of int'l flights in 2nd half of June or 1st half of July: Cabinet spokesman

Menna Alaa El-Din , Sunday 31 May 2020

The government has been working in the past period on implementing preventive measures inside Egyptian airports, he said.

Passenger wears facemask at Cairo Int
A passenger wears a protective mask at Cairo International Airport following the coronavirus outbreak, March 10, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt is considering a ‘gradual resumption’ of international flights in the second half of June or first half of July, Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said.

In a phone interview on Saturday, Saad told privately owned satellite TV Sada El-Balad that the Cabinet’s coronavirus crisis committee will hold a meeting next week on applied measures over the pandemic, where they will discuss the resumption of flights.

“The gradual resumption of flights might be during the second half of June or first half of next July,” he said.

He said several global carriers have expressed readiness to resume flights to Egypt next July, especially as they “predict that Egypt is among states which will gradually open airspace”.

Saad added that the government has been working in the past period on implementing preventive measures inside Egyptian airports, including measures applied on board or at departure or arrival halls.

"Such measures have been implemented at a pilot level in domestic travel flights", he said.

The Cabinet’s spokesman statements come few weeks after Egypt said a suspension of international flights at all Egyptian airports will continue “until further notice,” according to a decree by PM Mostafa Madbouly detailing the anti-coronavirus measures the country is taking following Eid Al-Fitr earlier this month.

Egypt is mainly keeping its airspace open to cargo and domestic flights, during the flight suspension, which has been in place since mid-March.

Egypt is just operating flights to repatriate its citizens abroad and has returned home at least 12,000 Egyptians so far.

Limited flights have been operated to a few international destinations, with EgyptAir announcing a special flight to Frankfurt on 5 June.

Egypt appears adamant to gradually re-open the economy to recover main sources of foreign currency heavily hit by the pandemic, including tourism and remittances from Egyptian expats.

Its aviation sector has suffered losses of billions during the imposed suspension, with losses estimated at exceeding EGP 2.25 billion ($142.1 million), according to statements by PM Madbouly last March.

The losses have pushed private and national airliners to seek governmental aid to help survive the crisis.

Last April, Egypt's private airline companies called on the aviation ministry to intervene to stop the haemorrhage of losses incurred by the coronavirus outbreak as the pandemic continues to take its toll on the country's vital sectors.

Egypt said in May it would provide an EGP 2 billion ($126.3 million) loan to national carrier EgyptAir to deal with the pandemic's repercussions.

The economic impact of the coronavirus crisis has pushed Egypt to seek an emergency fund of over $5 billion from the International Monetary Fund through a Stand-By Agreement, after receiving earlier this month $2.772 billion from the fund under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to meet urgent balance of payments needs.

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