Egypt adopts Open Skies Policy to further boost tourism

An announcement by Egypt on its implementation of the Open Skies Policy, which allows Egyptian airlines to operate direct flights from European countries to the Cairo International airport, alongside the inauguration of the Sphinx International Airport and the New Administrative Capital’s airport, was widely welcomed by tourism and aviation experts.

The experts stated that these two steps will have positive economic and developmental impacts by restoring Egypt’s flow of tourists and enhancing trade relations with other countries.

The policy has been applied towards all Egyptian airports, coming in line with the country’s aim of enhancing relations with all countries and encouraging tourism by removing all obstacles hindering those willing to visit Egypt, said the President of the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority, Sameh al-Hefny.

Hefny said that it is now possible for all private airlines worldwide to land and take off at Egyptian airports without restriction, after meeting internationally recognized safety and security standards.

He pointed out that before the implementation of the Open Skies Policy, there were 47 international airlines operating at Cairo airport. The new policy will provide unlimited opportunities to double this number, providing further alternatives to those visiting Egypt.

The policy will also revitalize travel and transit traffic within the Egyptian airports, contributing to the operation of many services related to travel and aviation and promoting economic growth rates in general.

The head of the private aviation association Youssry Abdel Wahab also praised the implementation of the Open Skies Policy, saying it had been a constant demand from workers in the Egyptian tourism sector.

He said that the Cairo airport can accommodate 30 million passengers a year, but previously applied procedures allowed only 14 million passengers a year.

The Open Skies Policy operates Cairo airport at its full capacity and creates new jobs, he added. Wahab also called for giving Arab countries the priority in drawing the largest possible number of Arab tourists, and for activating the electronic visa system.

The prices and tourism programs will be adjusted in accordance to demand rates.

Higher demand rates give Egypt more opportunities to select tourists who can spend more money, thus raising the tourism sector workers’ income, he stated.

Airports are the gateway to Egypt, receiving 95 percent of the country visitors while the remaining five percent enter through land and sea ports, according to Abdel Wahab.

The policy will increase export opportunities and encourage air traffic, taking into account that aviation serves 42 industries, he said.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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