Egypt upgrades airports

CAIRO HAS improved its old airport in Nasr City as part of the Cairo International Airport’s EGP150 million development and upgrade plan.  Part of the upgrade is the addition of six conveyer belts and 10 counters for its international arrival on terminal 3, as well as a shopping mall and a multi-storey garage following President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement in April 2004 of the project’s second phase start.

In May, the Cairo International Airport Company which owns, manages, and operates the Cairo airports, opened terminal 4. This terminal will handle 11 million passengers yearly; 6 million international and 5 million domestic in addition to the 3.6 million for terminal 2 and 6 million for terminal 1.

Cairo airport’s three-level central main building with mezzanine is built on 164,000 square meter space with levels for arrivals and departures, basement facilities, baggage handling, workshops, electro-mechanical area and stores. Two piers will be connected by a concourse to the main building with extendable capacity and swing gate facilities serving domestic and international traffic handled through 15 new contact stands and five bus gates for international and 13 contact stands and two bus gates for domestic.

Currently, the airside work includes railways, apron, apron centre tower, twin-lanes, airfield lighting, airfield drainage, flood lighting, 400 Hz ground power supply to contact stands, aviation fuel supply system pre-conditioned air, aircraft waste, passenger loading bridges and visual docking guidance system.

Landside work includes bridges and flyovers serving the traffic to and from the terminal building, surface car park areas, a new access road connecting the airport to the Autostrad road and upgrading the access road from the Orouba road. Security precautions due to ongoing construction ensure the continuous operations of the existing airport and ease in the traffic flow, as well as environmental protection procedures – disposal or solid waste and noise mitigation continue.

Passenger facilities will include airline lounges, prayer areas, seating areas, 15 holding lounges, 34 new remote stands, 23 loading bridges, two security zones, 190 check-in islands (with 10 bales for inline security and automatic sorting), 28 departure counters, 26 arrival counters, 44 horizontal people mover systems, 58 elevators, 48 escalators, 54 shops, 77,000 sq. meter parking, 320,000 sq. meter taxiways/taxi lanes and 155,000 sq. meter aircraft parking space. By January 2007, the 42.5 month-long project will have been completed. 

Meanwhile in Luxor, a new passenger terminal opens this August 2004.  Costing around $50 million and partially funded by the government with the rest from loans from the Egyptian-Saudi Bank, the Luxor International Airport increases volume which, in 2003, already reached the 1.5 million mark. Passengers went through a temporary tent).

The Egyptian Airports Company, which owns and handles all major airports–Luxor, Sharm el Sheikh, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Hurghada and Alexandria except Cairo, is working on a 55000-square-metre terminal which will take 4200 passengers per hour, replacing the current terminal handling 800 passengers per hour. Equipped with five conveyor belts and 52 counters, the three-level central main building with mezzanine floor will have 18 passport counter units for arrival, 10 passport control departure counters, a domestic arrival hall, customs hall, four cafeterias and 50 duty-free shops, four banks and VIP lounges on the ground floor. On the first floor, six departure halls, two first-class lounges, two business class lounges, 60 commercial units, a food court with four outlets and six banks will be constructed.

Funded by the World Bank, approved and carried out May 6 this year, the 18-month $40-million contract for Sharm el Sheikh Airport is slated for completion December 2005. The international port-of-entry will feature a new terminal in a built-up area of 43000 sq. meters.

It will feature two main levels with restaurant and cafeteria in two additional levels in the central hall for long-waiting passengers. On the ground floor will be a 23,398 square meter departure hall with 32 check-in counters, six international/ one domestic departure holding gates,16 passport control booths, public hall with retail areas and food outlets, a 19,835 square meter arrival section with domestic and international halls with visa processing in 20 immigration control units, baggage claims of four international and one domestic, six customs control units, duty-free and banks;  and a lower or apron level with main departure facilities including main waiting zones on the concourse, duty-free, retail outlets and hold gates for domestic and international passengers.

There will be a back-of-house for electro-mechanical services including HVAC/electrical power plant, generators substations, building automation system, fire alarm system, closed circuit television, local area network, personal ID and access control and security check X-ray equipment, flight information system and antenna system, lifts and escalators, environmental protection measures and the baggage in- and out-bound spaces. Airport expansion will allow Sharm el Sheikh Airport to receive 2500 passengers per hour.

With the new minister for tourism, Ahmed el Maghraby, appointed July 14 (replacing Dr. Mahmoud Beltagui who is now the Minister for Information), Egypt’s big challenge will be keeping these terminals busy.

In his statement to the press July 25, el Maghraby confirmed his firm commitment to attract foreign investment to the sector, lauding the importance of a free market enterprise. Aviation will definitely be one target for his plans to expand tourism arrivals, in the short-run.

CAIRO, Egypt
author: Hazel Heyer

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