File Photo: A traveller wearing a protective face mask disembarks from an EgyptAir plane taken on June 18, 2020. REUTERS
Egypt’s national air carrier EgyptAir is seeking financial assistance from the Egyptian government this year amounting to EGP 5 to 7 billion ($317.84 million to $444.98 million) to help pay salaries, outstanding loans and aircraft leasing fees, EgyptAir Holding Chairman and CEO Rushdi Zakaria said on Monday.
In statements to the press during the Arab Aviation summit in the UAE, Zakaria said that he is optimistic about continued assistance from the government and that there is no plan to reduce the size of the current fleet or resort to layoffs.
Last year, EgyptAir received EGP 5 billion in financial assistance from the Egyptian government.
“EgyptAir did not resort to layoffs or reduce salaries as a result of the pandemic,” he told the reporters, stressing the need for government assistance.
“It would be hard to go on without this assistance,” he added.
EgyptAir has been hit hard because of the flight suspensions imposed in Egypt and other countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Amgad Aref, an adviser to the aviation minister, revealed to the House of Representatives that EgyptAir incurred EGP 7 billion in losses due to coronavirus.
According to EgyptAir CEO Zakaria, the company currently spends EGP 500 million a month and operates only half the number of flights it used to prior to the pandemic.
According to Zakaria, EgyptAir is currently studying fully acquiring flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv from its subsidiary Air Sinai.
Founded in 1982, Air Sinai has been the only company to operate flights between Egypt and Israel.
Zakaria also revealed that there are talks between EgyptAir and Sudan Airways to work on a joint project to expand in Africa.
Zakaria also said that within two months, a joint project between EgyptAir and Ghana will be launched under the name Air Ghana.
In October 2020, EgyptAir signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Ghana to be the strategic partner for the upcoming Air Ghana.
Despite the crisis in the aviation industry worldwide, Egypt and Pakistan have been chosen by the Arab Aviation Summit as the best two aviation sectors to deal with pandemic.