Egypt is preparing to launch its first-ever low-cost airline, Air Sphinx, scheduled to begin operations in the winter of 2022/23, according to a cabinet meeting press release published on 8 July.
“The Cabinet was briefed on the [Ministry of Civil Aviation’s] preparations for a low-cost airline, “Air Sphinx” […] in order to enhance and increase the number of tourists arriving to Egypt from differing countries,” the statement reads.
The Cabinet’s statement further specifies that Sphinx Air will fly from Cairo International Airport, Hurghada International Airport, Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, Luxor International Airport, and Sphinx International Airport in Giza.
Air Sphinx, a subsidiary company of state-run EgyptAir, will operate both domestic and international flights, aiming to provide tickets at competitive prices for more affordable travel opportunities.
EgyptAir, founded in 1932, was Africa and the Middle East’s first-ever airline and the world’s seventh, helping travelers journey to Egypt’s wonders for nearly a century. More recently, the company has incurred significant losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 15 June 2020, a few months into the pandemic’s global lockdown – which began in March 2020 – Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister, Mohamed Manar, reported that EgyptAir had lost over EGP 56 billion (USD 3 billion) due to COVID-19’s impact on tourism.
A few years later, the country now continues to recover from the aftermath of the pandemic, as tourism numbers are yet to reach the recorded 13.6 million visitors in 2019 – a number that once represented 15 percent of the country’s GDP.
Tourism campaigns by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, such as the ‘Follow The Sun’ and ‘Egypt Never Sleeps’ campaigns, aim to revive Egypt’s tourism. Now, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is doing its part in the sector’s revival, as it attempts to entice prospective visitors to fly with Air Sphinx’s low-cost prices.