Cairo is preparing to open its second international airport, Sphinx International, in mid-July, the Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry has said.
Work on the new airport, near the Giza pyramids, is almost finished, Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar told a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
"Ninety per cent of the work on the Sphinx International Airport development project has been completed," Mr Manar said.
The new airport, with the abbreviation SPX, is expected to take a great deal of pressure off Cairo International Airport, which celebrated its 59th anniversary on May 18.
SPX will operate domestic and international flights, and cargo flights, the ministry said.
It opened for a trial period in 2018 for mostly domestic flights, but received its first international flight in 2019, which arrived from Athens.
Although the airport did receive the odd international flight during its trial opening, it did not have the space for large aircrafts and received mostly small and medium-sized planes.
But in 2020, SPX underwent major works to turn it into an international airport, through which visitors to the nearby Giza plateau and coming Grand Egyptian Museum can have easier access to Cairo’s most popular tourist sites.
The ministry said the airport’s size was increased to 24,000 square metres and, when completed, will have a capacity of 900 passengers an hour.
Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said his Cabinet would give priority to the civil aviation sector in its coming agenda.
Mr Madbouly said Sphinx International Airport was particularly important because of its proximity to the Giza plateau, into which the government of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has poured millions to attract large numbers of tourists.
"Massive efforts are being exerted to develop the area ahead of the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum," he said.
Tourism is one of the government's top priorities, particularly in light of the hits the sector took after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which kept two of Egyptian tourism’s most essential national groups from visiting.