First flight from Sphinx International Airport west of Cairo

27-01-2019 09:09 PM

Adel Fouad

To mark the 89th anniversary of the annual Egyptian Civil Aviation Day on 26 January, Egypt’s Ministers of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Yunis al-Masry and Rania al-Mashat respectively, witnessed the experimental operation of the first internal flight from the new Sphinx International Airport to Sharm al-Sheikh resort on the southern top of the Sinai peninsula.

Sphinx airport is located west of Cairo and cost some EGP300 million to build. A statement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that the airport will cater to tourists coming to visit the Giza pyramids and the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the pyramids plateau in Giza, west of Cairo. The GEM is scheduled to open in 2020. The current international airport in Cairo, Cairo International Airport, is situated east of the sprawling city.

Sphinx Airport has the capacity to accommodate 300 passengers per hour. It boasts a 975 square metre departure hall and a 1,100 square metre arrival hall, as well as a VIP hall. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology in air traffic control and automatic landing systems and security systems such as x-ray explosive detectors and high end CCTV and thermal surveillance cameras.

The first flight was one of 30 flights by the national carrier, EgyptAir, scheduled to run from 25 January to 9 February from Sphinx to the airports of Sharm al-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, and Aswan.

Since the Ministry of Civil Aviation was celebrating both Civil Aviation Day and the opening of Sphinx International Airport, a banner commemorating the double event was placed on the facade of the Ministry building; the passenger terminals at Cairo, Sphinx, and Sharm al-Sheikh airports; all airport screens, the seats of EgyptAir aircraft on all domestic flights, and on DutyFree products.

Egypt’s Civil Aviation Day marks the day in 1930 when the Egyptian pilot Muhammad Sidqy made a solo flight on his private plane, starting from Berlin and jaunting to a number of European cities, then landing in his final destination, Cairo. This made Sidqy the first Egyptian to fly an international flight to Cairo. The then Minister of Transport Fahmy al-Nuqrashi issued a decree to prepare Almaza Airport, which was a military airport, for civil flights. The move was completed in February 1931, and the civil airport officially opened on 2 June 1932. A month earlier, in May 1932, the first Egyptian carrier was born under the name Misr Airlines, becoming the 7th carrier in the world.

Watani International

27 January 2019

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