By Mohamed Attia
As the first session of its kind to be implemented at a ministerial level and in the presence of a large number of officials, headed by Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Abbas Helmy and Red Sea Governor Major General Amr Hanafi, activities of a public hearing and consultation session were launched for a project aimed to develop Hurghada International Airport and establish an environmentally-friendly passenger terminal.
The consultative session discussed all items related to the environmental and social impact assessment study for the new project, as well as discussing topics related to the study items and explaining the potential positive environmental impacts of the airport and how to reduce them.
Minister Abbas stressed the importance of holding this session as it is one of the supportive measures for preparing the evaluation study for the new development project and contributes to identifying the methodology of environmental considerations and mechanisms for implementing sustainability in Egyptian airport development projects, in accordance with international environmental requirements aimed at reducing carbon emissions in accordance with Egypt’s future vision 2030 and the comprehensive development goals adopted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in various fields.
He added that the session is a real opportunity and a realistic indicator of fruitful co-operation and integrated coordination between the Ministry of Civil Aviation and all state institutions, which reflects the integration of effective efforts made in this field.
The minister added that Egyptian airports received large numbers of passengers during the year 2022-2023, and he cited as an example Cairo airport, which received about 20 million passengers during this year. Hurghada airport also received about 9 million passengers during the same year, at a rate of 75 per cent of the capacity of the two airports.
The minister added that the Ministry has not taken a final decision yet regarding the date or location of the construction of Terminal 4 at Cairo airport.
He also explained that this project is subject to the opinion of a number of consulting companies specialised in this framework.
The minister pointed out that expanding Egyptian airports and increasing their capacity is necessary and positive, especially if taking into account that global travel traffic estimates indicate that the volume of increase in air traffic is increasing by rates of up to 4 per cent annually in the absence of any external obstacles that limit of passenger traffic.
The minister added that establishing a fourth terminal for Cairo airport is a future idea that can be worked on, but after further studies and discussions with specialised consultants and also searching for the necessary funding sources.
Abbas added that the ministry is currently working to reduce emissions at airports and replace clean energy within the framework of the state’s procedures in this context, while committing to rationalisation of expenses.
He pointed out that whenever financial conditions are available and the necessary requirements are met, a number of airports will be converted to be environmentally friendly.
The minister said that Berenice airport is currently ready to receive tourist flights, explaining that if there is a request from any tourism company to operate flights to the airport, the airport will be immediately ready to receive flights.
Regarding El Alamein International Airport, the minister confirmed that it is ready to host the EgyptAir Show 2024, scheduled to be held in May 2024 at El Alamein Airport.
He pointed out that El Alamein International Airport during the last period, specifically the current summer season, witnessed an increase in operating traffic, in conjunction with the international and largest festival in the Middle East, which was hosted by the city under the slogan “The World is Alamein.”
The airport also received foreign international flights of different nationalities, with an average of 5 flights per week. He indicated that during the past months the airport received 13,000 passengers.
He said that the capacity of Burj Al Arab Airport will increase to about 6 million passengers per year by 2024, after the opening of its new passenger terminal, explaining that the current capacity of the airport is about 1.5 million passengers.
The minister also said that by increasing the capacity of Burj Al Arab Airport and the presence of El Alamein International Airport, the city of El Alamein and the North Coast region will be ready to receive any number of tourists.
He pointed out that the coming period will witness an increase in the number of aircraft fleet owned by EgyptAir after the addition of a number of aircraft during the next two years, explaining that there is a great development witnessed by EgyptAir in various fields, whether in terms of the points it reaches or in terms of the quality of services.