EgyptAir opens direct Tripoli-Sharm El Sheikh route to promote tourism

The national airline will fly from Libyan capital to Red Sea resort town starting on Tuesday until October 11

Tourists take photos under water from a submarine in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, a popular beach and diving destination. Photo: Reuters
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EgyptAir will operate special flights from Tripoli to Sharm El Sheikh starting on Tuesday in an effort to revitalise Libyan tourism to Egypt, the Egyptian national airline said.

The route from Mitiga International Airport in the Libyan capital to the Red Sea resort town will operate once a week until October 11.

Tourist groups will be transported by Boeing B737-800 aircraft, which can accommodate 154 passengers.

The move comes as the Ministry of Civil Aviation aims to increase air and tourist traffic to Egypt from various markets, EgyptAir chairman Amr Abou El Enein said in a statement.

Sharm El Sheikh is a popular beach and diving destination, particularly for European tourists. It will also be the site of this year’s UN Cop27 climate change conference in November.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the Russia-Ukraine war, has dealt a blow to Egypt’s tourism industry.

With Russia and Ukraine normally accounting for about a third of the country’s tourists, Egypt is widening the net to boost an important source of foreign currency revenue and contribution to gross domestic product. Tourism accounts for about 12 per cent of GDP on average.

Egypt’s tourism revenue was $8.2 billion over the nine months from July 2021 to March of this year, up from $5.1bn over the corresponding period the previous fiscal year, the latest data released by the Central Bank of Egypt shows.

Egypt and Libya agreed in September to resume flights between them after a seven-year hiatus due to a deteriorating security situation. This followed the uprising that ousted former president Muammar Qaddafi.

In April, EgyptAir started operating daily flights between Cairo and Benghazi.

Egypt and Israel have also taken steps to operate flights between the two countries in recent months. In October, EgyptAir made its first flight to Israel since the neighbours signed a peace treaty 42 years ago.

The first direct flight from Tel Aviv to Sharm El Sheikh took off in April, operated by Israeli national airline El Al subsidiary Sun d’Or.

There are direct flights to Sharm El Sheikh from many European cities, including London, lstanbul and Rome.

AlMasria Universal Airlines, an Egyptian private airline that has operated charter flights since 2008, told The National on Monday that it would start offering new charter flights between Russia and the Red Sea resort destinations of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. The flights will run on a trial basis, depending on demand.

Updated: August 09, 2022, 4:43 AM