By: Lamia Nabil
A source within EgyptAir who requested anonymity attributed the country’s flagship carrier’s EGP 6bn in revenue losses since 2011 to a reduction in passenger traffic since the revolution and to “nepotism”.
The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the level of EgyptAir’s losses last Monday.
The source said that EgyptAir had piled up hefty expenses due to the company’s foreign offices hiring more employees than needed, with offices being used by employees to grant favours to friends and family members by offering them jobs.
He revealed that getting hired at one of the carrier’s foreign offices was referred to among EgyptAir employees as the “million trip”.
“They [employees] treat them as whole companies and not small offices,” he said.
He also highlighted how the phenomenon of excessive hiring of employees was widespread throughout the company as a whole and not limited to foreign offices.
“If we did a simple comparison between EgyptAir and Lufthansa,” he said. “We will find that EgyptAir owns 70 planes with 35,000 employees, while Lufthansa owns 180 planes with only 5,000 employees.”
Minister of Civil Aviation Wael Al-Maadawy said to media outlets that EGP 650m of the EGP 6bn in losses came as a result of the rise in the price of the dollar.
He also said that passenger traffic fell from 18 million prior to the revolution to 15 million currently.
“Egypt has more than 12 airports currently experiencing losses,” he said. “But we still maintain a presence there in order to sustain development at these airports.”
He also mentioned that those airports currently making a profit were the Sharm Al-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan, and Borg Al-Arab airports.”
The minister said that the airports sector achieved profits of EGP 524m during the current fiscal year due to “successive improvements” in the sector, “as it’s our concern to develop the terminal”.
“We started a five-year plan [to develop the terminal] from 2012 to 2017 with total investments of EGP 9bn,” he explained during an interview on the independent Al-Hayat television channel on 7 January.
Commenting on media reports circulating that Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater would be purchasing seven EgyptAir planes, another source within the carrier denied the claims, adding that EgyptAir currently cannot hire out or sell airplanes, as it is a holding company and must gain approval for this from what he identified as “specialised economic committees”.