Al-Ahram Weekly Online   12 - 18 January 2012
Issue No. 1080
Sky High
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Transit Lounge:

IATA Boosts ME plans

IATA Director, Middle East and East Afric, Dr. Majdi Sabri paid a short visit to Cairo where he met with the new Aviation Minister, Hussein Massoud.

The meeting focused on means to boost ME air transport and help airlines overcome the side effects of Arab Spring on the industry.

A golden honour

MORE than 350 engineers gathered on Tuesday to attend the annual meeting organised by the Egyptian Association for Civil Aviation Engineers. This year the meeting has been as shiny as gold. The group gathered to celebrate the Golden Jubilee for their association.  Established in 1961, the association held its first board meeting on 16 December 1961.  "Our main concern is to qualify our members and provide them with the required skills to maintain their high scientific and professional level," stated Asad Zaghloul, Association chairman.

EgyptAir Holding Company Chairman Hissam Kamal, along with his deputy Abdel Aziz Fadel and EgyptAir Mainenance and Engineering Chairman Said Mekawi, attended the event. This year, a senior and leading figure, ex-chairman of EgyptAir technical branch Abdl Aziz Fadel, was honoured by his colleagues. 

A documentary movie reviewed Fadel's professional career, and the last ten years where he served at the national carrier. Fadel is an ex-air force officer. In 2001, he quit the military and joined EgyptAir engineering and maintenance company where he was promoted in the management and in 2005 he was appointed the chairman. The documentary highlighted the progress the technical branch achieved under Fadel's management, which led the company to obtain all safety and quality accreditation and later to become a major engineering and overhaul complex in the Middle East, attracting major manufacturers such as Rolls Royce to form a partnership. 

A daily to Juba

The national carrier increased operation to South Sudan this month, adding more frequencies to its current service. The airline, effective the begining of January, added three flights to expand its operation to Juba from four flights weekly to seven flights weekly. 

"This is a step to boost our plans to link our network in Africa in a good way," commented Ayman Nasr, airlines director. "It will also help activate travel movement within Egypt, and as well expands the network and adds frequencies to destinations that already have high load factor." 

According to Nasr, the new expansion of operation with Juba responds to the high demand for the service and to meet the wishes of those distinguished clients to the south of the valley," he added.

Juba service was launched in August 2010 with two flights weekly only. Later the carrier increased operation to four flights weekly, though the service came under attack. In May, and due to deteriorating traffic levels through Egyptian airports, the carrier closed a number of services including the Juba route. But the measure appeared to contradict governmental trends to close ranks with African nations, and thus the Juba route was relaunched again.

Royal Jordanian wants a manual check

ROYAL Jordanian airlines requested a unique and unfamiliar security check of passengers and baggage at Cairo International. According to airport officials, the airlines asked airport authorities not to allow luggage into the airplane hold before each passenger recognised his stuff before getting onboard. 

"The airlines send a request to allow ground services men to lay the luggage under the aircraft on the Tarmac and that each passenger come to recognise his luggage before taking it into the plane," explained Ahmed Hafez, Cairo airport manager. 

Hafez said the requested measure is not adopted even by the American authorities which apply tough security procedures on flights heading to US airports. 

Royal Jordanian airlines operates 25 flights at present to Egyptian airports from Amman ê" a daily to Cairo, two daily flights to Alexandria, and four flights weekly to Sharm El-Sheikh. 

Hafez said the measure is likely to be applied in emergency cases only such as a bomb threat.

Air freight boosts exports

BOTH the Aviation Ministry and Industry and Foreign Trade Ministry joined efforts this week to facilitate increasing the air freight fleet to boost developing Egyptian exports process. 

The national carrier's affiliated cargo airline came to reach a deal with both Egyptian Exports Development Fund and the Export Board for Agricultural Harvests under which the cargo airline offers more space and frequencies to transfer agricultural products.

"The deal is one step forward to support Egyptian exports and enhance its competitiveness at world markets," commented Basem Guhar, EgyptAir Cargo chairman.

"Under the agreement, EgyptAir Cargo will not only increase frequencies from four to five flights weekly, but also add more spaces on the commercial fleet heading to Germany, England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands," Guhar added.   

EgyptAir Cargo Airline possesses a fleet of four Airbus medium body cargo planes. It is considered one of the biggest in the region. 

A seventh destination in KSA

TAIF has been named as flydubai's seventh destination in Saudi Arabia, expanding its network across the Gulf, Middle East, Africa, Indian Sub-Continent, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.

flydubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith said: "Taif  is part of our strategy to connect the UAE to destinations previously underserviced by direct air links. We hope to continue promoting new avenues for trade and commercial ties across our network."

In tandem with developing its route network, flydubai has underscored the importance of Saudi Arabia to its growth strategy by increasing the frequency of existing operations to the Kingdom. The airline now flies twice daily to Damman and Riyadh following increasing demand for flights between Dubai and two of Saudi's main business hubs.

Flights to Taif will operate three times a week and will commence on 1 February 2012. One way fares from Dubai to Taif start at AED570 and fares from Taif to Dubai start at AED600.

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