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United Arab Airlines

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United Arab Airlines

Founded 1932 (as Misr Airwork)
Hubs Cairo International Airport
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program EgyptAir Plus
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 80
Destinations 78 (incl. subsidiaries)
Company slogan Enjoy The Sky
Parent company EgyptAir Holding Company
Headquarters EgyptAir Administrative Complex
Cairo, Egypt
Key people
  • Captain Tawfik assy (Chairman & CEO of EgyptAir Holding Company)
  • Captain Roshdy Zakaria (Chairman of EgyptAir Airlines)
  • Capt. Helmy Awad Ibrahim Rizk (Chairman of EgyptAir Express)

EgyptAir (Arabic: مصر للطيران, Miṣr liṭ-Ṭayarān) is the flag carrier airline of Egypt.[1] The airline is based at Cairo International Airport, its main hub, operating scheduled passenger and freight services to more than 75 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. With an extensive network of domestic services focused on Cairo, Egypt's capital, the airline is working to regain profitable operations following the revolution of 2011.

Egyptair is a member of Star Alliance, having joined on 11 July 2008. The airline's logo is Horus, the sky deity in ancient Egyptian mythology, chosen because of its ancient symbolism as a "winged god of the sun", and usually depicted as a falcon or a man with the head of a falcon.


Origins and early history

The airline was founded in May 1932 as Misr Airwork. It was managed prewar by Airwork Ltd of the United Kingdom. Regular services were begun in June 1933 with a small fleet of De Havilland Dragon eight-seat biplane airliners. Services linked Cairo with Mersa Matruh via Alexandria. In 1934 international services began to Lydda and Haifa, being extended to Baghdad in 1936. Misr Airwork's routes were taken over by the Egyptian government in September 1939.[2]

Postwar the airline used the name Misrair and Beech C-45's were supplemented in 1948 by the larger Vickers VC.1 Viking which was operated until 1961. Sud-Est Languedoc four-engined airliners were purchased in 1952. These were supplanted by the turboprop Vickers Viscount in 1955, the type serving the airline until 1965.

Misrair was renamed United Arab Airlines (UAA) in 1960. Jet equipment arrived in mid-1960 with the delivery of De Havilland Comet 4C airliners. These enabled the UAA route structure to be extended to London from 1 July 1960, followed by services to other European cities.[3]

Operations since 2002

EgyptAir is a state-owned company with special legislation permitting the management to operate as if the company were privately owned without any interference from the government. The company is self-financing without any financial backing by the Egyptian government.

The airline underwent a major corporate re-engineering in 2002, when its structure was changed from a governmental organization into a holding company with subsidiaries. The move coincided with establishment of the Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation and the government's ambitious strategy to modernize and upgrade its airports and airline. The airline was given the right to operate without any interference from the government and the duty to do so without any financial backing

EgyptAir wholly owns EgyptAir Express and Air Sinai. The airline has stakes in Air Cairo (60%) and Smart Aviation Company (20%).

In 2004, EgyptAir became the first IOSA certified airline in Africa.

The airline launched a regional subsidiary called EgyptAir Express with a fleet of new Embraer E-170 jets. The carrier links Cairo with Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam, Abu Simbel and Alexandria (Egypt) in addition to secondary regional destinations to complement the parent company's pattern of service. In June 2009 the subsidiary received the last of the 12 Embraer E-170 aircraft on order.

The EgyptAir Holding Company has recorded substantial profits in past years, reaching US$170 million during the 2007/2008 financial year. This is fortified by huge assets of more than US$3.8 billion. The airline's financial year is from July to June.[4] For the fiscal year ending 31 July 2007, EgyptAir achieved a record total revenue of US$1.143 billion. Total group revenue grew by 14%, as compared with the previous year.

In early 2007, the airline partnered with the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation and 'Egyptian Holding Company for Airports & Air Navigation' to form a new corporate airline, Smart Aviation Company, based at Cairo Airport.

On October 16, 2007 the Chief Executive Board of Star Alliance voted to accept EgyptAir as a future member. The airline had already forged commercial and cooperative agreements with several members of the Star Alliance by then, including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Thai Airways International, Swiss International Airlines, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines and bmi. Nine months after being invited as a future member (a record time by any airline joining an alliance), EgyptAir became the 21st member of Star Alliance in a ceremony held in Cairo on 11 July 2008.

In 2009, EgyptAir's operations at its Cairo International Airport hub (where it holds 61% of the airport's departure slots) were notably overhauled due to the inauguration of the new Terminal 3 in April 2009. The airline transferred all its operations (international and domestic) to the new terminal that has more than doubled the airport's capacity. Under the Star Alliance “Move Under One Roof” concept at Cairo Airport, all Star Alliance member carriers serving Cairo have moved to the new Terminal 3. In 2010 the airline will overhaul operations at its Alexandria base by transferring operations from the older facilities at Alexandria International Airport to the brand new airport in Borg El Arab Airport. The airline's CEO also stated the company was evaluating whether to set up a low cost carrier subsidiary for its Alexandria operations to address the growth of LCCs in the city.

During the 2009-2010 Paris Airshow, the airline announced a new venture with US lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG) and other Egyptian private and public shareholders to establish a leasing joint venture focusing on the Middle East and Northern Africa region. The new joint venture - named Civil Aviation Finance and Operating Leases (CIAF-Leasing) will initially focus on narrowbody aircraft.

On 10 March 2010 the airline took delivery of its largest aircraft, the Boeing 777-300ER in Cairo Airport, with a seat capacity of 346. The aircraft is equipped with a new on-board product and the largest business cabin to-date. This is the first aircraft to enter the fleet on an operating lease (from GECAS). All other mainline aircraft are owned. The airline is initially operating the aircraft to London Heathrow and Tokyo Narita followed by John F. Kennedy International Airport from 31 October 2010. In August 2010 EgyptAir will also receive new Airbus A330-300, which will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on the London Heathrow route from 1 September 2010.

The carrier is a conditional member of Arabesk Airline Alliance and the Arab Air Carriers Organization, until such time as it corrects human rights abuses.

Disruption caused by civil unrest - 2011

Following the revolution of 2011, Egyptair is reported[5] to have suffered considerable losses. Egypt's civil aviation minister Wael El Maadawi said the airline lost an estimated 1.3 billion Egyptian pounds, or around $185 million, over the 2012/13 fiscal year, mainly due to an increase in fuel prices, the devaluation of the Egyptian currency and continuous strikes within the company. Losses for 2011/12 were apparently around double the 2012/13 figures. The carrier has reportedly suffered total losses of more than 7bn pounds, or nearly $1bn, since the 2011 uprising.

Corporate affairs

Ownership and structure

EgyptAir is a state-owned company, 100% owned by the Government of Egypt. The EgyptAir Holding Company [6] was created in 2002 with seven companies, with two further companies added at later dates.

There are three carriers, which operate under the same AOC but are managed separately and have their own profit and loss accounts:

  • EgyptAir Airlines, the core airline company
  • EgyptAir Cargo, a dedicated cargo airline (established in 2002)
  • EgyptAir Express, the domestic and regional airline (launched in June 2007)

Other companies within EgyptAir Holding Company are:

  • EgyptAir Maintenance & Engineering, originally an in-house operation but now also carrying out 3rd party business; EASA Part 145 and FAA Certified[6]
  • EgyptAir Ground Services, providing services to over 75% of the air carriers flying to Egypt[6]
  • EgyptAir In-flight Services
  • EgyptAir Tourism & Duty Free Shops
  • EgyptAir Medical Services
  • EgyptAir Supplementary Industries Company (formed in 2006)

Subsidiaries and associates

The airline has stakes in:

  • Air Cairo (60%)
  • Smart Aviation Company (13.33%)
  • Air Sinai (100%)
  • Egypt Aero Management Service (50%)
  • LSG Sky Chefs Catering Egypt (70%)
  • Civil Aviation Finance and Operating Leases - 'CIAF-Leasing' (Ownership % - TBD)

Business trends

Trends for recent years, for the EgyptAir Holding Company and for its main subsidiary Egyptair Airlines, are shown below (for years ending 30 June):

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
EgyptAir Holding Company
Turnover (E£m) 8,959 12,161 12,998 13,509 12,890 14,545
Net Profits (E£m) 579 695 573 533 −2,059 −3,106
Number of employees 20,734 29,285 31,725
Number of passengers (m) 7.8 8.2 8.7 8.0
Passenger load factor (%) 72 68
Cargo carried (tons m) 127 121 122
Number of aircraft (at year end) 45 50 59 66 76 79
EgyptAir Airlines
Turnover (E£m) 6,947 9,265 9,917 10,189 9,678
Net Profits (E£m) 161 232 208 130 −2,205
Number of employees 7,600
Number of passengers (m) 5.7 6.7 6.8 7.3 6.8
Passenger load factor (%) 63 67 68 72 68
Number of aircraft (at year end) 38 40 48 50 63
Notes/sources [7][8][9] [9] [9][10][11] [9][11][12] [11][12] [13]

Trends for EgyptAir Express and EgyptAir Cargo are shown on the relevant articles. Figures for the year ending 30 June 2011, and the lack of detailed accounts since, reflect the disruption that occurred because of the Egyptian Revolution in early 2011.

Head office

EgyptAir is headquartered in the EgyptAir Administrative Complex on the grounds of Cairo International Airport in Cairo.[14][15]


Main article: EgyptAir destinations

As of June 2013, EgyptAir serve 81 destinations; 12 in Egypt, 19 in Africa, 20 in the Middle East, 7 in Asia, 21 in Europe and 2 in the Americas.

Codeshare agreements

Other than subsidiaries and franchisees EgyptAir has codeshare agreements with the following airlines and some fellow Star Alliance partners (as of September 2012):[16][17]

* Star Alliance member


As of November 2013, the EgyptAir fleet consists of the following aircraft:[18][19]

EgyptAir Fleet
Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
F C Y Total
Airbus A320-200 5 0 16 129 145
7 10 134 144
1 0 174 174 Used In Domestic Flights & Sometimes Operated For Air Cairo
Airbus A321-200 4 0 10 175 185 New configuration
Airbus A330-200 7 0 24 244 268
Airbus A330-300 4 1 3 0 36 265 301 OnAir internet and mobile usage capability
New business class featuring lie-flat beds
Economy cabins equipped with PTV
The Ordered Aircraft Will Be Delivered In 2014[20]
Airbus A340-200 3 12 24 224 260
Boeing 737-800 20 0 16 144 160
Boeing 777-200ER 4 12 21 286 319
Boeing 777-300ER 6 0 49 297 346 New business class featuring full lie-flat beds
New economy cabins equipped with PTV
Express Fleet
Embraer E-170 12 0 0 76 76
Cargo Fleet
Airbus A300B4-200F 2 Capacity 289m3; Commercial Load 40 tons
Airbus A300-600RF 2 Capacity 320m3; Commercial Load 45 tons
Total 73 1 1

Incidents and accidents

  • On 27 July 1963, United Arab Airlines Flight 869, a de Havilland Comet, crashed into the sea on approach to Bombay Airport, India, all 62 passengers and crew on board were killed.
  • On 20 March 1969, a United Arab Airlines Ilyushin Il-18 crashed while attempting to land at Aswan Airport. 100 of the 105 passengers and crew on board were killed in the disaster.
  • On 25 December 1976, EgyptAir Flight 864 crashed into an industrial complex in Bangkok, Thailand. All 52 persons on board plus 19 people on the ground were killed.[21]
  • On 23 November 1985, EgyptAir Flight 648 operated by a Boeing 737 was hijacked to Malta International Airport by three men from the Abu Nidal terrorist group. Omar Rezaq was among them. An Egyptian Sky Marshall on board shot and killed one of the hijackers before being gunned down himself. After several hours of negotiations, Egyptian troops stormed the aircraft and battled with the hijackers, who threw several hand grenades and shot / killed five Israeli and US passengers. The aircraft was severely damaged by the explosions and fire. Two of the six crew members and 59 of the 90 passengers were killed.
  • On 31 October 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, a Boeing 767 flying between New York City and Cairo, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nantucket, all 217 passengers were killed. The relief first officer of the flight, Gameel Al-Batouti, was suspected by U.S. authorities of committing suicide and intentionally crashing the plane. Egyptian officials have strongly disputed that claim.[22]


External links

Egypt portal
Companies portal
Aviation portal
  • ()
  • Archive of older website
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