EgyptAir lost over $3 billion due to flight suspension: Minister
Ahram Online, , Monday 15 Jun 2020

Egypt’s flagship carrier Egyptair has racked up losses of over $3 billion and airports have achieved zero income on the back of flight suspension over the coronavirus pandemic in place since March, the civil aviation minister said.

Private airlines have also incurred substantial losses over the past three months, aviation minister Mohamed Manar said in TV comments to Al-Hadath satellite TV channel late on Sunday.

Last month, Egypt’s finance ministry decided to lend EgyptAir EGP 2 billion ($127.39 million) to help it handle the impact of the pandemic on its operations.

Egypt halted all international flights on 19 March in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It has since only allowed its airports to open to domestic, freight and special repatriation flights.

The country announced late on Sunday that it will gradually resume regular international flights at all its airports starting 1 July, with foreign tourists allowed to fly into three coastal governorates only, which have had the lowest numbers of recorded coronavirus cases in the country.

According to Sunday's announcement, the resumption of tourist trips will come gradually and under certain conditions.

Travelers must sign an acknowledgement at departure airports that they are free of the virus prior to boarding their planes, while those coming from countries with high rates of coronavirus will be required to submit PCR test results to prove they are coronavirus-free before travelling.

Passengers and aircrew will also be obligated to wear masks on board planes while keeping safe distances between one another.

Manar said based on assessment by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there would be no need to keep some plane seats empty to limit the risk of transmission.

In separate TV comments, the minister said the country has so far repatriated around 30,000 Egyptians from abroad, as part of a government plan to bring home nationals stranded outside the country due to international flight suspensions.