Former Air Force pilot Taha Hassan declared he will be donating his last remaining small aircraft to the ‘Tahya Masr’ Fund, in recognition to the “great” plans that the fund is trying to achieve, reported Al-Masry Al-Youm. The craft is the last remaining piece of Hassan’s fleet which belonged to an airline he used to own.
Hassan, 65, created his private airline in the early 80s, but had to shut it down in 2010 after two decades in the tourism and air transport fields. He described his reason for closure to be “the lack of tourism.”
He then sold his planes to Sudan and Saudi Arabia, among other countries, while the remaining planes were left at his Austrian partner’s disposal. He kept a single plane, the one to be donated to the Tahya Masr Fund, because “the plane was registered to the Egyptian Aviation ٌRegistry and I did not want it to be removed from there,” He told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
He explained to Al-Masry Al-Youm that he did not sell the plane not due to the lack of offers but rather because “my grandson loved this plane so much, so I kept it for his sake.”
Hassan, who was head of the General Committee for Airlines within the General Federation of Chambers of Commerce, until 2011, had kept his plane in an 6th October City airport storage area, saying “every certain period, the plane would get inspected, maintained and paid for.”
This all changed recently, when Hassan contacted Tahya Masr to auction his three-passenger plane to support the Tahya Masr Fund. He says, “I decided that Egypt was worth my plane. I have given my life to the army,” adding that making his decision to give up his plane was an easy one.
Hassan then contacted the head of donations at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to auction his French-assembled Cessna 172. However, problems appeared when there were no professionals to assess the plane. He then went to the presidency but with no hope.
Hassan, however, refused to sell the plane and just give its returns to the fund, “a lot of people love the country and will come to buy it if they realized it was for the fund, then it could generate more money for the fund.”
Finally, Hassan told Al-Masry Al-Youm, “this is the last of my possessions and I have taken the permission of my inheritors. The only thing left is for the fund to have an auction.”
The Tahya Masr Fund was created in July 2014 “to support the Egyptian economy,” said the Presidency according to the official website of the fund. The fund falls under the auspices of the CBE and receives donations from Egyptians all around the country. Sisi himself was the first to donate half his monthly salary to the bank.
Only two weeks after the inauguration, press reports estimated the donations to total some LE5 billion, all from businesspeople.
Beyond that, some financially-struggling Egyptians rushed to support the fund. One lady, Zeinab, became famous for donating her only valuable item to the fund, a pair of golden earrings.