EgyptAir to spread wings in Africa while seeking $300 million support from government

An Egyptair plane aircraft landed at Cairo Airport, Egypt July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s national carrier, EgyptAir is looking to expand in Africa as air travel recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the carrier seeks more than $300 million in additional government aid.

EgyptAir will provide four Boeing Co. 737-800 aircraft to the Accra-based airline in which it will have a 75 percent share, Zakaria told reporters in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the emirates of the UAE.

The company is also in talks with Sudan Airways, the troubled state carrier of Egypt’s southern neighbor, for an initiative that might involve establishing a transport hub, Zakaria said.

“To spread in Africa, that is our main goal,” the CEO said. “When we have a hub somewhere in the middle of Africa that will give us a chance to reach” new destinations.

The plans come as EgyptAir, like most global carriers, battles the coronavirus’ impact on global travel. The government provided 5 billion pounds ($318 million) in loans in 2020 and the airline is asking for 5 billion-7 billion pounds in similar assistance this year to pay salaries, loans and aircraft leases, Zakaria said.

EgyptAir is also studying the possibility of taking over a flight service to Israel provided by Air Sinai, the only airline that currently has direct flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv, according to the CEO.

The carrier’s traffic is currently 40-50 percent of its pre-pandemic level in 2019, with hopes that will rise to 75 percent this year, Zakaria said.

(Source: Bloomberg)