In a pilot operation attended by Minister of Civil Aviation Younes al-Masry, Egypt’s Sphinx International Airport received its first test flight on Monday.
The new LE300 million airport lies west of Cairo. and is expected to hold great touristic importance due to its closeness to the Giza Pyramids, the Grand Egyptian Museum, and other historic areas in Cairo and Giza.
Masry boarded the flight from Cairo Airport, which was operated by EgyptAir.
In its first phase, Sphinx Airport (IATA SPX) is intended to receive a limited number of test fights, which will gradually increase up to the airport’s official launch.
According to Pilot Ahmed Genaina’s description, the airport’s main building has two halls: one for departure, with an area of 975 square meters, and another for arrival, with an area of 1100 square meters, and a capacity of 300 passengers per hour.
The building features a VIP lounge and five counters, as well as 42 administrative, customs, security, and other service offices on an area of 26,000 square meters
The airport is also equipped with modern air control, an Instrument Landing System (ILS), Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), and high-efficiency security devices, Al-Ahram website reported. These devices include X-Ray passenger and cargo inspection devices, the latest thermal surveillance cameras, and automatic fire alarms.
A main electricity station powers the airport, and feeds eight other substations. Other features include a concrete water tank, with a 1500-cubic meter-capacity to feed the water and fire networks, a meteorological building, a mosque, and a parking lot that can accommodate hundreds of cars.
“The Sphinx International Airport project is in line with the strategic objectives of Egypt’s Vision 2030, which aims to achieve sustainable economic development, and provide the infrastructure to encourage foreign investment and stimulate tourism,” Masry stated.
He added that Sphinx Airport’s main objective is to alleviate the great pressure on Cairo Airport, to accommodate the continuous growth of passengers, and to encourage tourism. The airport also aims to serve the citizens of the nearby 6 of October and Sheikh Zayed cities, and other governorates including Fayoum, Beni Suef and Minya.
The airport will receive charter and same day flights.
In February, Mohamed Mahrous, Head of the Holding Company for Airports and Aeronautics, told Al-Ahram newspaper that the company would be initiating a trial operation for three new airports: the Sphinx International Airport on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, the New Capital Airport, and the Bredwell Airport in Sinai.
The trial will involve all devices, equipment, and systems within the three airports, as well as ambulances and navigation systems.
Construction work on the Sphinx Airport began in 2016, and was registered and calibrated by the ICAO. Built as the 33rd airport in Egypt’s history, it is located at the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, close to the Giza Pyramids and Grand Egyptian Museum.