Cairo’s New Star Alliance Terminal

The new Terminal 3 at Cairo International Airport in Egypt was formally opened on April 27, 2009, with the departure of EgyptAir’s daily New York service the first to utilise the modern facility. The building, located adjacent to T2, is being exclusively used by EgyptAir and its partners in the Star Alliance – Austrian Airlines, bmi, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines. “The building represents a significant development on those previously on offer to visitors at the airport,” Ahmed El Emary, Chairman Assistant Operation for Cairo Airport Company told Airports International, during an exclusive tour of the terminal. Built over five levels, T3 has a capacity to handle up to 11 mppa – six on international routes and five on domestic services – with two fingers providing access to 20 contact and 33 remote stands. Each finger also has a single gate capable of handling aircraft of Airbus A380 size, with seating provided for up to 800 passengers. “We have planned for all possible growth scenarios for the future,” said Mr El Emary.
Following its ‘soft’ opening on April 27, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss moved their services from Vienna, Frankfurt and Zurich on May 11 and bmi its daily London link from May 15. Egypt Air’s domestic flights were transferred from T1 to T3 on May 18, its European flights followed on June 8 while the remainder of its flights were moved across on June 15. “We learnt from the problems with the opening of T5 at London/Heathrow,” Hassan Mahmoud Rashed, Cairo Airport Company Chairman and CEO told Airports of the World. “We therefore took this phased approach which has been very successful.”
With the completion of the T3 project, the airport is now turning to the renovation of T2, doubling capacity from 3.5 mppa to 7 mppa and increasing the number of contact gates from seven to 14. Construction work also began in March on a light rail link between the three terminals and the large shopping centre on the airport approach road. The €60 million investment will reduce travel times between T1 and T3 to just five minutes. The system is due to become operational towards the end of the first quarter of 2011. According to official data from the Airport Council International, Cairo was the fastest growing of the world’s top 100 airports during 2008, with passenger numbers increasing by 14.2% to 14.3 million. The airport has also reported above industry average figures for the first four months of this year, something that Mr Rashed acknowledged has “even surprised the management.” However, Egypt reported its first confirmed case of swine flu in June and Mr Rashed is concerned what impact this could have in the future. “We have been testing everyone arriving in the country since the World Health Organization outlined concerns about swine flu,” he said. “Fortunately this enabled us to isolate the single passenger, but we have no idea how this could affect us.”