Airline crisis with Saudi Arabia deepens

The crisis between the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority and its Saudi Arabian counterpart has deteriorated, with EgyptAir halting all flights to Medina.

The move comes in response to the the Saudi Aviation Authority’s earlier refusal to grant two EgyptAir flights permission to land at Medina Airport on Monday and Tuesday.

Saudi authorities defended the decision, saying they would not receive any additional EgyptAir flights until their Egyptian counterparts permitted Saudi private-sector airlines to land at Cairo International Airport.

Egyptian civil aviation officials, for their part, say that no private-sector or charter airlines–whether Arab or foreign–are allowed to land at Cairo Airport. They are only allowed to land at airports located outside the capital, officials explained.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia share an"Open Sky" agreement, whereby each party can increase the number of its flights to the other without prior permission.

EgyptAir Chairman Alaa Ashour vowed that the crisis would not affect Egyptians currently making the Islamic Umra pilgrimage. Bassel el-Sissy of the Egyptian Chamber of Travel Agencies, however, disagreed with Ashour’s assessment.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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