The Saudi airline Flynas launched Saturday the first flight on the new air route between Cairo and Jeddah, said Bader Al-Muhanna, deputy CEO of NAS Holding.
The route represents an important stage in the company’s strategic, expansionary work in the coming years, he added.
According to Al-Muhanna, Flynas operates 44 weekly flights from Saudi Arabia to different points in Egypt and expects to conduct 55 weekly flights by the end of the year.
According to Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou, Saudi Arabia is one of the most important markets bringing tourists into Egypt, although tourist activity has declined over the past three years. The ministry is working to restore tourism by launching tourism programs through air routes from Riyadh and Jeddah to tourist destinations Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Sharif Amer, director of sales and marketing at NAS, said that the company is hoping to serve 20 million passengers on its routes by 2020. The Egyptian market represents an important aspect of the company’s share.
The company operates a fleet of 27 aircraft, according to Al-Muhanna, and is aiming to expand this to 70 aircraft by 2020, in line with plans to increase total passengers to 20 million.
Al-Muhanna said he feels there are “great opportunities” for Flynas to grow, “especially in the near future with increased numbers of Egyptian pilgrims and citizens travelling to Saudi Arabia.” Education also accounts for a portion of travel from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, he added.
According to the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism, the number of pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia last year reached 825,000, and the company views this sector as an opportunity to increase their share in pilgrim transportation.