Q&A: Egypt Air

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1. What role do you believe EgyptAir currently plays in the world of global – and regional – airline operations?

Through its continuous endeavours to improve and develop its performance, EgyptAir has used the latest technological programmes and tools required in order to turn Cairo International airport into a hub. This will provide the best possible connectivity in our network. EgyptAir is a full member of Star Alliance and we offer mostly daily or double daily services within the Middle Eastern, European and African markets. 

2. What are EgyptAir’s development stages?

In compliance with the international challenges facing the aviation industry, which prompted a company restructure, our vision statement focuses on offering valued customers the best possible competitive services, mixed with our unique Egyptian spirit. EgyptAir’s mission statement is to create value for our customers, employees, owners, and stakeholders.

3. What are your primary routes, and what routes, if any, do you expect to announce in the coming year?

We have a strong impact on the Middle Eastern and European routes, also offering very convenient services to African destinations such as Johannesburg, Lagos and Khartoum. We are looking to add more flights to Johannesburg, and inaugurate operations to Dar es Salaam effective mid 2009. At the moment we are researching destinations in Africa, so as to increase our frequencies. Also, we will increase the direct flights to Beijing to meet the increased demand.

4. You have a fleet size of over 50 aircraft with over 32 on order.  What’s coming – and what’s going?

Our fleet now is 51 aircraft, and in the first quarter of 2009 we will receive 5 more deliveries of the Boeing 737-800. Also, in 2010, we will have 8 Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts join the fleet and another 8 Airbus 330-300s. These new Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts will allow us to further grow our long-haul routes and offer more premium services to our customers.

5.  Do you source your destinations largely to cater for business travellers first and foremost, and how important are the leisure and tourism travellers to your airline?

Yes, we cater for business travellers’ needs. The businesses in the Mena region provide lots of investments in the area. So we give opportunity for the Egyptian investors to be close to their projects worldwide and we also make it easier for foreign investors to come to Egypt. On the other side, we have Egypt as a country which is a favourite tourist and leisure destination. For that we offer the most convenient domestic network through our EgyptAir Express Company.

6.  Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways, predicts that 30 airlines will go bankrupt in the next few months around the world.  Do you agree with him, and why (or why not)?

It is really challenging to sustain a profitable airline these days, but I can assure you that there is still a room for more cost-reduction tactics without affecting the quality of the product.

7. What plans do you specifically have for South Africa?  What are your frequency plans for Johannesburg?

Our operation to Johannesburg used to be two frequencies per week and we increased the operation to reach daily flights in 14 months, as our Johannesburg operation was one of the fastest growing in our network and, as I  said before, we are looking for a double daily service to Johannesburg.

8. Cairo Airport is the second-busiest airport in Africa after Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, and is undergoing a massive redevelopment plan – tell us a little about it.

With the inauguration of Terminal 3 at Cairo Airport, we will have access to a state-of-the-art airport. The terminal will house all EgyptAir operations with other Star Alliance member carriers. There will be many new additions to the airport, including new taxiways, flyovers, and a hotel with 380 rooms. The opening will be in January 2009

9.  What do you believe most sets you apart in the airline world from any other carrier?

What we are proud of is our people, their native Egyptian hospitable spirit, and their inner drive to achieve excellence. Also, we have the edge of being the home carrier of a very charming and interesting destination – Egypt.

10. What’s more important to you right now – adding more routes or greater frequencies on the main routes the airline flies, or fulfilling passenger expectations?

Our first priority is to enhance the EGYPTAIR image, making it the customers’ first and only choice. We also plan to activate Cairo Airport as a major hub; to increase EgyptAir market share in different markets, and to update EgyptAir to the latest technology.

11. The Arabian Gulf is fast becoming a true global hub in the 21st century – how does Egypt Air see itself fitting in with this new Middle Eastern globalisation?

Our target is to turn Cairo Airport into a fully functional hub. Look at the geographic location of Cairo; it is the most convenient point on the world map to connect between the different parts of the world, especially from African countries to Europe and other destinations.

12.  What do you believe most sets you apart in the airline world from any other carrier?

What we are proud of our people, their native Egyptian hospitable spirit, and their inner drive to achieve excellence. Also we have the edge of being the home carrier of a very charming and interesting destination, Egypt.