Cairo International Airport (IATA: CAI, ICAO: HECA) (Arabic: مطار القاهرة الدولي Maṭār al-Qāhirah al-Duwaliyy) is the busiest airport in Egypt and the primary hub for Star Alliance member EgyptAir. The airport is located to the north-east of the city around 15 km from the business area of the city.
The airport is administered by the Egyptian Holding Co. for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN), which controls four companies including: Cairo Airport Co., Egyptian Airports Co., National Air Navigation Services and Aviation Information Technology and the Cairo Airport Authority (CAA), which is the regulatory body. In 2004, Fraport AG won the management contract to run the airport for 8 years.
Cairo International is the second busiest airport in Africa after OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa. Over 65 airlines use Cairo airport (including charter airlines) and 9 cargo airlines. EgyptAir is the largest operator at the airport, holding 61% of the departure slots in 2009. With the assimilation of the carrier into Star Alliance in July 2008 the airport has the potential to be a major hub with its positioning between Africa, the Middle East and Europe (especially with facilities for the A380).
In 2009, the airport served 14,382,042 passengers (+0.2% vs. 2008) and handled just under 143,000 aircraft movements (+3.6% vs. 2008). Total airfreight tonnage handled at the airport in 2009 dropped by 3.9% to approximately 274,550 tonnes.
The airport has three terminals, with the third (and largest) opened on 27 April 2009. Terminal 2 was closed in April 2010 for major renovation works to the building's structure and facilities. A third parallel runway is currently under construction and will replace the current crossing runway once it goes into operation in 2010. Runway 05L/23R is 3,300m long, 05C/23C has a length of 4,000m and the new runway will be designated as 05R/23L and will be 4,000m. A new cargo terminal is also under construction.
In 2010, the airport was voted one of the three most improved airports in the 2010 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
During World War II, the United States Army Air Force built Payne Airfield to serve the Allied Forces, rather than take over the existing Almaza Airport, located 5 km away. Payne Field was a major Air Transport Command air cargo and passenger hub, connecting westwards through Benghazi Airport to Algiers airport on the North African route to Dakar Airport in French West Africa. (1943–1945).
Other locations which transport routes were flown were RAF Habbaniya, Iraq on the Cairo - Karachi, India route; Lydda Airport, British Palestine; Jeddah, Arabia , on the Central African route to Roberts Field, Liberia (1941–1943), and later after the war ended, Athens, Greece and on to destinations in Europe.
When American forces left the base at the end of the war, the Civil Aviation Authority took over the facility and began using it for international civil aviation. In 1963, Cairo International Airport replaced the old Heliopolis Airport, which had been located at the Hike-Step area in the east of Cairo.
The terminal facilities include Departure Hall 1, International Hall 3, and Hall 4 for Private & Non-commercial Aircraft Services. As part of the recent upgrading and facility improvement scheme, the CAA demolished the old hall 3, previously used for domestic arrivals and departures, to reconstruct a new hall to be used for international arrivals. Terminal 1 is locally known as the "Old Airport," although its facilities were recently given a complete overhaul and are newer than those of Terminal 2, which is still known as the "New Airport."
Terminal 1 was originally used by EgyptAir and several Middle Eastern airlines however an increasing number of other foreign carriers, such as Air France and KLM transferred operations from Terminal 2 in 2006. In May 2009 EgyptAir moved all its operations to the new Terminal 3 (along with all Star Alliance airlines serving the airport). In March 2010, with the closure of Terminal 2 for major renovation works, all non-Star Alliance airlines serving the airport shifted operations to the terminal.
Currently all airlines based in the terminal arrive into Hall 3. Departures are however divided with all airlines departing from Terminal 1 Hall 1, with the exception Saudi Arabian Airlines who are the sole tenant of Terminal 1 Hall 2 due to the size of their operations (SV accounted for 65% of Terminal 2's traffic in 2009).
The CAA has also inaugurated the "Airport City Concept," to provide an array of services and entertainment facilities to travelers, airport visitors, as well as the general public. The first phase of this, a new shopping mall called the 'AirMall' has been built near Terminal 1's New International Arrival Hall 3.
As of 2009 the façade of the terminal was being upgraded. The cladding which includes the landside facades of the terminal, the water tower and CAC's administration buildings. A Study on reorganizing the departure and arrival Halls is ongoing as well as the feasibility study to include a number of contact stands to improve the service and comfort levels to the passengers. Terminal 1 has 12 gates.
Terminal 1 - Hall 4 is dedicated to private and executive jet services. Even though it is referred to as a 'Hall' under Terminal 1 it is operated independently from the commercial passenger terminal. It has proven to be one of the most successful general aviation halls in the Middle East.
Smart Aviation Company has been based at the building since 2007 however will move to a new executive FBO in 2010 located adjacent to Hall 4.
Terminal 2 (closed for renovations)
Terminal 2 was inaugurated in 1986 with 7 boarding gates. It primarily served European, Gulf and Far Eastern airlines. The terminal was closed in April 2010 for complete renovations which will last 36 months. The architecture of the terminal building limited the opportunities for further expansion which necessitated the entire building to be closed for major structural overhaul at an estimated cost of $400 million.
In February 2010 the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a loan amount of $280 million to support the Cairo Airport Development Project (CADP) to overhaul the terminal with nationals banks providing the rest. The project will increase the terminal capacity from 3 to 7.5 million passengers annually. The entire terminal's "look & feel" will improve dramatically once the renovation works are completed. The upgrade shall include the complete modernisation of the 20 year old facility to reach the same level of service as the new Terminal 3. Once completed, the renovated terminal will be operated jointly with Terminal 3 as one integrated terminal, thus, reinforcing the role of Cairo International Airport as a regional hub.
The project will take 36 months to complete and double the capacity of T2 to around 7.5 million passengers and double the number of gates from 7 to 14 (and an additional 5 remote stands). Upon completion the terminal will raise the airports passenger capacity to 24 million.
The terminal will include larger and more modern retail areas and will also include Airbus A380 gates. Upon completion in 2013 the passengers can expect a highly modern terminal offering international standard service levels and more passenger conveniences, including large retail areas and lounges.
As an interim measure all airlines housed in the terminal were relocated in phases to Terminal 1 in March 2010.
Given projected growth, and the limited ability to expand Terminal 2, the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation began construction of Terminal 3 in 2004. The terminal was officially inaugurated by the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday 18 December, 2008 and opened for commercial operations on 27 April 2009. The facility is twice as large as the current two terminal buildings combined, with the capacity to handle 11 million passengers annually (6m international & 5m domestic) once the first phase is completed. It is located adjacent to Terminal 2, and the two terminals will initially be connected by a bridge. Access roads have already been redesigned, and the parking lots relocated.
With its hub at the airport EgyptAir's operations were overhauled with the full transfer of its operations (international and domestic) into the state of the art terminal between 27 April and 15 June 2009. To implement the Star Alliance “Move Under One Roof” concept all alliance members serving the airport were relocated to the terminal by 1 August 2009.
The new terminal includes:
With the national carrier, EgyptAir and the Egyptian authorities planning to develop the airport as a hub for the Middle East and Africa, the airport facilities are in constant development.
Several projects are underway including:
Airlines and destinations
The following is a list of airlines serving the airport as of October 2010:
^1 : These flights make a stop en route to the listed destination (either in one direction or both). However the airlines do not have the right to transport passengers between Cairo and the en route stops.
Accidents and incidents
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