EgyptAir: On the Path of Recovery
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Hossam Kamal chairman and chief executive officer of EgyptAir Holding Company
The Egyptian revolution of 25th of January was the event that raised Egyptian hopes, yet the country has since witnessed a decrease in economic growth and the travel industry has been hit hard. With many businesses still recovering, EgyptAir, the country’s flag carrier established in 1931 is no exception.
Hossam Kamal, the chairman and chief executive officer of EgyptAir Holding Company in an interview with arabaviation.com during the Dubai Air Show 2013 described the situation of the airline since the start of the revolution: "Businessmen don't fly anymore to Egypt as before," while stressing EgyptAir recovering from the slump after the revolution.
"Before 2010, the traffic was 14 million, dropped down to 9 million, 10 million, with plans to back to 14 million within 6 months.”
"In contrast with other Arab Spring countries, Egypt iis rapidly recovering, "We will have elections 6 months from now. Libya is still fighting each other.
“Areas like Sharm el Sheikh and Sinai are back to normal but still there are some now [instability] in the area of south Egypt in Luxor and Aswan. This area still has some warnings from some countries. As long as those warnings are removed, everything will be back for tourists in Egypt. “
EgyptAir has more than 6 flights per day to Luxor, Aswan, Sharm el Sheikh, and Hurghada. However, last year it had like 10 or eleven.
"Because of the drop, but we're trying to recover" according to EgyptAir chief: “ Most of the European countries have removed their warnings for going to Egypt.”
When asked about the ratio of business versus leisure passengers, Kamal pointed EgytAir has four types of passengers who come to Egypt, the tourists, businessmen, Egyptian expatriates, and Hajj Umrah traffic (Moslem pilgrimage). The figures for the Egyptian expatriates, Hajj and Umrah seasons have not been affected, the two sectors hard hit are the tourist and businessmen. The airlines’ recovery has been focused has been on these two sectors.
Kamal stated the airline has 81 aircraft, when asked about the plans for placing any orders to increase the fleet, "We did not make any orders yet. We are still under study and proposals. We didn't have our final decisions yet. We are talking to increase our fleet. And replace some of the old aircraft. We have the replacement of the 320. We have some of the 320 aircraft that want to be replaced by 737 Max or the 320 Neo. Also we have an extension plan."
"We have a plan to replace 8 aircraft and increase another three and for the expansion plan we're talking about 70 aircraft."
Regarding the concept of EgyptAir networking, they have 22 destinations in Africa and Kamal added "we're planning to expand our network."
Covering EgyptAir's cargo performance, Kamal mentioned last year the airline carried 170,000 tons of cargo, “Now they are planning to increase our fleet.”
Kamal talked about the airlines' non-core business, having the largest aviation training center in Africa, "We are working with hot spots in Africa so we're getting customers from all of Africa to start the training and do the training here, some of the middle eastern airlines like Pakistan Airways."
Covering the payload, Kamal said: “It dropped from 81 percent to 65 percent as all of us know that the profit margin of the airlines is very thin."
"I don't think there's any airline in the world that passes through a situation like the one we had in Egypt," Kamal added, however, he assured the airline is recovering with plans for expansion, "We already expanded our network in the past two years, yes we have a drop in the number of passengers and have been affected financially but we're still surviving. And we're looking for a better future."
EgyptAir chief Kamal stated the holding group fully owned by the government is in discussions for reducing taxes, yet when asked about making profits, "No profits till now because of the revolution, but we're reducing our losses."