AME Insights
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  • Regional news
10 February 2020

Interview with EgyptAir CEO

Restructuring for Sustainability and Success: Captain Ahmed Adel, Chairman and CEO of EgyptAir Holding Company


Captain Ahmed Adel, Chairman and CEO of EgyptAir Holding Company says the airline’s focus on fleet, customer experience and gender diversity will ensure EgyptAir continues to grow sustainably.

What is EgyptAir’s strategy for the next couple of years?
Since my appointment, EgyptAir has been going through an aggressive restructuring program to improve efficiency, passenger experience and ensure the airline is well positioned for future growth. We have streamlined activities and merged some of the airline’s subsidiaries, going from nine to a more agile and efficient seven.

We have also embarked on an ambitious re-fleeting strategy to upgrade 50% of our fleet to new-technology aircraft. We are expecting delivery of 33 aircraft by the end of 2020. So far, we have received six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s. The fuel-efficient aircraft is a great fit for our network and provides our customers with a responsible sustainable choice for air travel.

We have also taken delivery of eight A220-300 aircraft, becoming the first A220 operator based in the Middle East and North African region, and the sixth operator worldwide. In addition, we are scheduled to receive the first of eight Airbus A320 neos in the coming weeks. This will be followed shortly by seven A321s. Mid-2020, we will be issuing another RFP to replace the other 50% of our fleet, and to expand we are looking at increasing our fleet north of 100 aircraft by the end of 2027 so, we have quite an ambitious plan.

The Middle East is a challenging region what are the main challenges you are facing?
The aviation industry in general faces a lot of challenges, the nature of which change every year.  Currently the geopolitical situation in the region is top of mind because it affects travels between countries. It also affects trade. Global shocks that affect oil prices also remain on our radar given fuel costs are 30 -35% of the airline’s operating costs.   

IATA is doing a lot of work to improve gender diversity across the industry. As a pilot advice would you give to any aspiring female pilots?
I’m very proud to say we have 22 female pilots at EgyptAir. All our female pilots are very committed, and contribute towards the training of our younger pilots, so they play a very active role in our organization. A few years ago, to mark International Woman’s Day our first ever all-female crew took to the skies – a significant milestone for the region and the airline.

EgyptAir also has strong female representation across the airline – our VP of HR is female. Creating a positive working environment for our female employees is something we are committed to fostering at EgyptAir. We have also committed to achieve the industry’s target of 25by2025 to advance gender diversity in the airline industry by 2025 and we will do our best to achieve the goal in our organization.

How do IATA and AACO work together?
IATA and AACO are two very important organizations and we are active members of both. In fact, EgyptAir was one of the first IATA members, joining six months after it was established in 1945. We were the first in Middle East and Africa. Both organizations work together to advocate and to overcome issues that arise that might affect airline operations. Working together, IATA and AACO are a formidable team.

EgyptAir was the first airline to use biofuel on a delivery flight, why was this important for the airline?

Sustainable aviation fuels have been shown to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation fuel by up to 80% over their full lifecycle. We are committed to the sustainable growth of our airline and supporting commercial aviation’s efforts to protect the environment. The 5,925 nautical-mile (10,973 kms) trip flight from Seattle to Cairo represents the longest 787 delivery flight using sustainable fuel, it was a significant achievement.

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