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Egypt Air miffed with Air Arabia's Cairo flights.

Doha: Egypt Air, the government-owned national carrier, is not happy that the Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia is flying into Cairo International Airport.

Airlines that do not operate business class are not permitted to land at Cairo international. The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority imposes the strict rule to curb discount airlines coming in and undercutting the competition.

Air Arabia, the only listed airline in the UAE, has a curtained off business class section on its Cairo flights despite running a low cost model. It flies three times weekly to Cairo and only operates the business service to meet requirements to land at the airport. There are no plans to introduce the same across other routes.

"I am, of course, not happy," EgyptAir chairman and chief executive Sameh Al Hefny told reporters at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meet in Qatar. Air Arabia was unavailable to comment.

Al Hefny concedes that it was a government decision by the civil aviation authority, but added the government owned national carrier was not consulted. "It affects us," he said.

Egypt's travel and tourism industry has taken a dive since the 2011 Revolution spurred by the Arab Spring. The country has struggled for stability since.

Egypt Air is planning to scale back its flight frequencies after accumulating 5 billion Egyptian pounds ($699.28 million) of debt over the last two years. It is likely to declare a loss of 2.5 billion pounds later this month, Hefny said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Jun 7, 2014
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