EGYPTIAN Airline, Egyptair, is set to start direct flights from Cairo to Zanzibar, a move which is expected to boost the Isles tourism sector and enhance business between the two countries.
Egyptair vice president, Mr Mohamed Alabbady confirmed his carrier's intention to launch a direct scheduled flight between Cairo International Airport and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in the near future when he paid a courtesy call on President Ali Mohamed Shein, yesterday.
The Egyptian Airline boss informed the Isles Head of State, Dr Shein that the carrier has already approved the decision to operate directly between Unguja and Cairo, insisting that the flight will commence as soon as possible. President Shein welcomed the news and hailed Egyptair for including Zanzibar among its destinations, noting that the move would help boost Zanzibar's economy.
He expressed optimism that the launching of the first ever scheduled service linking the Indian Ocean semi-autonomous archipelago, will promote tourism sector, one of the key economic sectors in Zanzibar, currently contributing 20 per cent of gross domestic product and 80 per cent of Zanzibar's foreign currency earnings.
Apart from propping up the vibrant tourism industry, the planned Cairo-Zanzibar flight service is envisaged to increase the volume of trade between the two countries as well as cement the historic cordial relationship between Zanzibaris and Egyptians, said Dr Shein.
"Egypt has always supported the development of various socio-economic sectors in Zanzibar including health, agricultural, information and education sectors," stated President Shein. He revealed further that his government has taken measures to expand Abeid Amani Karume Airport and improve services offered at the Isles' major airport.
The ongoing expansion includes the construction of a new passengers' terminal and new apron. Qatar Air, Ethiopian Airline, Kenya Airways, South African Airways, Turkish Air and Oman Air are some of major airlines that fly direct to Zanzibar.
President Shein said more airlines including Etihad Airways, a flag carrier and the second- largest airline of the UAE after Emirates, and Air Arabian from Sharjah have expressed interests to launch direct flights to Zanzibar.