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Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:49 am

I was surprised to learn today that in addition to CAI, metro Cairo has two additional int'l airports: SPX and CCE. In the case of SPX, Egyptair Express flies there; in the case of CCE, it is unclear if there's any scheduled passenger service at the moment but there is a fairly large terminal there similar in size to that of SPX's. Why/how did Cairo end up with 3 airports? Even though SPX is close to Giza it is only mere miles close than CAI is, which has substantially more service. Seems a bit overkill to me.
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:53 am

The metro area of Cairo has somewhere around 20 million inhabitants and on top of that there is a huge tourism market. A lot of other 20 million cities have 2+ international airports.
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:24 pm

Metro population - particularly in lower income countries - doesn't determine passenger count. Cairo is bigger than London. It doesn't have more air passengers than London.
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:42 pm

I do not have the data for the other Airports but CAI has around 14 million passengers, and I think that are mostly passengers either originating in Egypt or having their destination in Egypt. On top of that Cairo is a rather wealthy area compared to the rest of the country.

The two airports SPX and CAI are also on opposing sides of the city and traffic in Cairo is something of the worst I have ever seen. Therefore them two airports can serve into local needs. Never heard about the third one (CCE).
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:03 pm

First, CCE is a proposed airport for the new Cairo, or new capital of Egypt, which is outside the national ring road of Cairo, or 60-75 kms away from Cairo city depends on where you define the centre (I think it is 40-45 kms east of CAI in direct distance, or 50-60 km by road network). In Cairo, this distance means 2 hours in traffic. The construction of new Cairo capital just started not long ago. Only a small portion of government has moved or in proposal of moving. Currently this airport is still a largely military base. Civilian part the runway is built and a small building is finished. But where is the flights?

Second, SPX is a largely connected to the military airport of Cairo West. In fact the runways are connected if I am not mistaken. It is not an 'international' airport as the destination is purely domestic. Granted there might be some international private jet or charters but the scheduled service is domestic only.

Third, as people have been to Egypt all know, a 30 kms distance can mean anywhere between 30 mins to 90 mins by car (if you are unlucky, 120 mins is possible). For people living in western of the Nile may take a long time to reach CAI. It is quicker to go from MIA to FLL or JFK to EWR (sometimes of course) than from Cairo city center to CAI (exaggerated a little here but you get the picture).
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:43 pm

Cairo for all intents and purposes has one airport-CAI. SPX opened this year to civilian traffic, which basically consisted of a few rotations to SSH/HRG/LXR/ASW over a 2-week period (during the half-year school holidays). Nothing more. There is no indication that any airline has any plans to operate scheduled flights from SPX. None of the Egyptian airlines have plans to set up a hub or focus city there.
SPX is supposedly closer to the Giza pyramids plateau (where the pyramids and the sphinx are located) but CAI's problem is traffic, not distance, as someone else pointed out. For SPX to work, there needs to be better connectivity with other towns to Egypt, namely in the densely populated Delta region. The Regional Ring Road might be a good start.
CCE is supposed to be the international airport serving the New Administrative Capital, currently under construction. It is unclear if the entire project will ever be completed, let alone a successful and thriving city. There is also supposed to be an airport serving in New Cairo/Kattameya. All three airports will be very close to each other as they are not too far from CAI.
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:48 pm

Huge tourism market ? Doubt it. I went to Cairo 2 years ago (things may have improved now), there were hardly any tourists at the pyramids.
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Re: Why does Cairo have 3 int'l airports?

Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:17 pm

Sort of like San Juan, a city of 150,000 with 2 international airports....

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