Emirates to raise frequency to Cairo despite tourism setback

Emirates is boosting capacity to Cairo next year, despite a setback to Egypt’s tourism sector following a plane crash in October.

The carrier will increase the number of flights between Dubai and Cairo to 17 per week from 14, from January 1.

The Dubai-based airline said that the flights would offer more “connection options” for passengers flying into Cairo or out of the Egyptian capital into destinations in the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

The Emirates’ announ­cement comes after the Egyptian government said on Monday that it would hire an international security and risk advisory company to improve security at airports across the country.

The move comes after a Russian aircraft crashed in Sinai on October 31, killing all 224 people on board.

Russia says it was brought down by a bomb.

But on Monday, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said that “the technical investigative committee has so far not found anything indicating any illegal intervention or terrorist action”.

A number of airlines – including easyJet, British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa – have stopped flights over the Sinai peninsula after the crash.

The consultant will assess security procedures, training and equipment at various airports, with the Egyptian government expected to select a company before the end of the year.

Analysts believe that the additional flights by Emirates could affect EgyptAir as the carrier tries to emerge from a four-year financial struggle – leading it to accumulate more than US$1 billion of losses.

EgyptAir’s chairman and chief executive told The National in October that his company’s strategy would be to capture the lost market share, increasing long-haul flights and focus on Cairo as a hub.

“EgyptAir already faces enormous market challenges given the political instability of its home market and the effect on tourism due to security concerns,” said John Strickland, the director of JLS Consulting in London.

“It does not have the strength of hub in Cairo that Emirates enjoys in Dubai. This means it cannot sustain traffic levels comparable to those which Emirates achieves.”



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