The budget airline Fly Egypt will expand its service from Abu Dhabi as it looks to capitalise on demand from UAE travellers wishing to visit the North African country.
The airline, which according to its website only began commercial passenger operations in July last year, will operate three direct flights a week from November 20 between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Alexandria’s Borg El Arab Airport. It currently flies one service a week. Fly Egypt said it expects to increase the number of flights from three-times weekly to daily, starting in May next year.
The carrier cited a growing need for a privately owned low-cost network airline to ease travel to, from and via resort and tourism attraction cities in Egypt as the primary reason for its formation, which was led by TMG-Talaat Mostafa Group investors. Fly Egypt aims to take advantage of a travel and tourism industry in Egypt that is beginning to recover from a tough few years, and increase the currently small share Egyptian registered carriers have in the industry.
The airline said it plans to increase its fleet to 12 aircraft in the short-term, up from the two it currently operates.
The expanded Alexandria-Abu Dhabi service will operate Boeing 737-800s. Flight FT 602 from Abu Dhabi to Alexandria will fly every Sunday, Tuesday and Friday, leaving the UAE capital at 05:45 and landing in Egypt at 08:00. Flight FT 601 will fly from Alexandria to Abu Dhabi every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, leaving at 23:00 and landing in Abu Dhabi at 04:45.
Alaa Al Ali, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi tour operator Nirvana Travel and Tourism, which has signed up to be the exclusive distributor of Fly Egypt in the UAE, said the new services “will enhance tourism, economic and trade cooperation between the UAE and the Arab Republic of Egypt”.
“We are pleased that Nirvana Travel & Tourism is promoting the city of Alexandria, the ‘Mediterranean Mermaid’ and the second-largest Egyptian city, which was chosen as the capital of Arab Tourism for the year 2010,” he added.
He said the new agreement with Fly Egypt would help to meet the growing demand for travel between the UAE and Egypt, adding that Alexandria is known worldwide “for its cultural diversity and ancient civilisations and facilities that tourists enjoy on the Mediterranean shore”.
Captain Ahmed Tarek Talaat, the chief executive and managing director of Fly Egypt said the agreement and expansion were a milestone for the airline.
“We are delighted to launch the new route between Abu Dhabi and Alexandria to serve tourism and holidays and we expect that the convergence of prices and holiday packages offered by Nirvana to kick-start the Fly Egypt operations quickly due to the desire of people to travel to Alexandria and the Egyptian Delta in general,” he added.
“We hope that the collaboration … the revitalisation of travel and tourism to the Mediterranean Sea which is characterised by a civilised and cultural history reinforcing its position,” noting that the choice of the city of Alexandria as Fly Egypt’s home base was spurred by an increasing number of tourists to the city from the UAE and wider Arabian Gulf region.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter