Al-Ahram Weekly Online   23 - 29 September 2010
Issue No. 1016
Sky High
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Never too old

Cairo International airport is adding a new facility and upgrading capacity, Amirah Ibrahim reports

Click to view caption
Cairo Airport TB1 gets a makeover; Shafiq and top aides inspect the new facility

By 2013, Cairo International will get an absolutely different new look as a comprehensive process to upgrade, modernise and improve its performance is undergoing. A new facility is almost completed and due to host 3000 vehicles acting as the new Car Park of the old airport.

"Almost 75 per cent of construction works have been completed. And despite a three month delay, the airport will get a state of the art car park by early 2011. We are satisfied with the work done," commented Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq as he inspected construction works of the new facility.

The LE 220 million construction has been situated near the airport's new terminal building TB3, taking its typical design and colour. It consists of four floors each occupying a space of 18,000 square metres.

According to Shafiq, the new facility is completely controlled by a computerised network which provides advanced techniques to guide vehicles from the entrance to free places. Professional operators will be invited to an open tender to operate the park. The new park will be served by shuttle bus and automated people- mover services transferring passengers through the airport's three terminal buildings.

"The airport will be served through a number of free services that don't aim to be profitable. Such services help passengers transfer smoothly to and from the airport, particularly transit passengers who we will target in the coming phase of the developing project," stated Ibrahim Manaa, head of the Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation. According to Manaa, the LE 650 APM is scheduled to operate by the middle of 2011.

A new seasonal terminal building is set to be constructed in 2011 to serve seasonal peak traffic in the airport, in particular, during Omrah and Hajj seasons which usually interrupt airport operations. According to Mannaa, the new terminal building is estimated to cost LE135 million and will hopefully be ready to serve by mid-2011.

"We are studying the possibility to build a modernised firefighting unit within the airport and operate it by our professional and well trained technicians who are qualified to fight airport fires where time and safety are highly valued," revealed Shafiq. Fire fighting in Egypt is one of the responsibilities of the Interior Ministry.

On the other hand, Cairo International at present is due for an upgrade which includes establishing a new transit hotel at a cost of LE500 million and a 350 room capacity. A new goods village is under construction costing some LE348 million. Both projects are set to be completed by mid-2012.

Cairo International will add more three million passengers per annum by the end of 2013 as it conducts an upgrade of its TB2 to expand its capacity from 4.5 million passengers to 7.5 million passengers. The new upgrade is estimated to cost LE2.3 billion.

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