Egyptian airlines may lower ticket prices, but won’t mandate empty seats between passengers: Minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Jun 2020

Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba said international flights will likely be resumed in the coming weeks

File Photo: An EgyptAir plane (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba said on Tuesday that it was expected that airlines would drop the prices of flight tickets to encourage tourists when flights resume.

In statements to the “On My Responsibility” programme on Sada El-Balad channel on Tuesday evening, Enaba said that special incentives are being prepared for private airlines.

He also said that national carrier EgyptAir, as well as private airlines, had lost billions of pounds in revenues due to suspension of flights since March.

Enaba said that the health ministry, in accordance with the World Health Organization, would determine the standards for the resumption of international flights.

“The return of aviation depends on the return of aviation in other countries,” he also said.

The minister said he would meet on Wednesday with the head of a government committee managing the response to the coronavirus committee to determine the date when international flights would be resumed, expecting that it would be within several weeks, as a number of other countries have said they will also reopen their airspace to flights in the coming period.

“Egyptian airports are ready to receive all visitors and tourists,” he said, adding that airports would follow social distancing rules, meals would be distributed in closed packets, passengers and crew on planes would wear gloves and masks, but there would be no automatically empty seats.

There is currently a controversy worldwide about whether airlines should leave empty seats between passengers, in accordance with social distancing rules.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in May that the measure would see airlines incur huge financial losses, while it would not greatly affect passenger safety.

Enaba also met with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany on Tuesday to discuss the preparation for the return of international tourism and aviation.

In separate media comments on Tuesday, Enaba denied reports that the seven-day quarantine period imposed on Egyptian nationals who have returned from abroad would be lifted within hours.

“The cabinet is the one that determines this issue, not the ministry of civil aviation or EgyptAir,” he told MBC Misr 2’s morning show.

In May, Egypt shortened a mandatory quarantine period for Egyptians arriving from abroad from 14 days to one week. Returnees who test negative by the end of the period can spend the rest of their quarantine at home.

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