Egypt is probably the most important country in the Middle East and Africa when it comes to aviation. However, it has faced its share of challenges in recent years, including the revolution and a range of security issues. We talked to Egypt’s Minister of Aviation, His Excellency,Sherif Fathi, to find out how things are going now.
“It is improving,” Fathi said. “Egypt was the pioneering country in civil aviation in Africa and the Middle East. However, it had some challenges. We had the revolution. We had also some … I wouldn’t say security challenges. It was more media statements that were not based on true facts about airport security.”
He added: “And our reaction to that was extremely open. We allowed auditors to come from the rest of the world, and every time they came in, they proved that what we have is as per the international standard. We also went further and reviewed our airport security devices and security equipment we use. We spent, in just three airports, more than $60 million in less than a year and a half, modernising the equipment we have at the airports — despite the fact that none of the auditors made any remark on the equipment we had at the airports.”
What we had was good enough, but it’s a decision that we have taken that we need to modernise equipment and also the operating procedures at our airports.”
By His Excellency Sherif Fathi, Minister of Aviation, Egypt
Egypt was also one of the countries targeted in laptop bans implemented on certain flights earlier this year. Fathi commented on the impact of this.
“Actually, our reaction is that we proposed an alternative procedure which has been implemented now,” he said. “What we have today has been proposed by us, by me personally, to some of the countries the day after they announced the restrictions on [tablets and phones] and other devices. I’m happy we reached the conclusion we have today, and the procedure we have today, because in my opinion, and also as per some experts’ opinion, putting them in the hold of the aircraft was not the right procedure, [or the safest].”
Watch the video for more insights from Fathi, including his insights on the outlook for Egypt Air.