CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir is seeking a three billion Egyptian pound ($185 million) loan to tide it over during the coronavirus crisis, the chairman of the state holding company that owns the airline said on Tuesday.
The crisis prompted Egypt to close its airports to most commercial traffic in mid-March, costing EgyptAir three billion pounds in lost revenue a month, Chairman Mohamed Rushdi Zakaria said.
Procedures for obtaining the loan from the state-owned National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr should be finished by next month, he added.
The funds will be used to pay $12 million in installments on foreign loans it had taken out to finance the purchase of new aircraft, Zakaria said.
EgyptAir had expected to take delivery of seven new aircraft in May but will now begin receiving the first by next month, he said.
The company has delayed leasing payments on some aircraft already in its possession by three months and others by six months, Zakaria said.
The airline is expected to operate at 20-30% capacity when it resumes flights at the beginning of July and at 50 percent by the end of the year, providing that coronavirus cases do not increase, Zakaria said.
According to central bank data, Egypt hosted 9.78 million tourists in 2017/18, the last year for which figures are available.
($1 = 16.1600 Egyptian pounds)
Reporting by Abdel Nasser Aboulfadl; Writing by Patrick Werr; Editing by Jan Harvey
Image: An EgyptAir plane flies over the Cairo’s Internatonal Airport as Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow the spread the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh