The African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to provide a $170bn loan to develop Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, according to Mahmoud Esmat, Chairman of the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN).
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, on the sidelines of the Economic Summit last Saturday, Esmat said developing Sharm El-Sheikh Airport aims to increase its absorptive capacity. It will serve the tourism sector and increase the revenues of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in addition to helping improve the national economy.
The airport’s current capacity is 10 million passengers, while the Ministry of Civil Aviation targets increasing the number to 18 million passengers annually, Esmat said.
According to Esmat, the ministry is working to launch a new building in the airport at a cost of EGP 3bn, which will be obtained via loans from international financial institutions.
Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal said in a statement to Daily News Egypt, that the ministry is working on raising the efficiency and absorptive capacity of all airports in Egypt. This is in conjunction with the country’s 2030 strategy.
The Egypt 2030 strategy includes increasing infrastructure across Egypt and targeting high growth rates amounting to 6%, during the first five years.
Sharm El-Sheikh is one of Egypt’s biggest tourist centres, where the airport serves approximately 62,000 rooms in South Sinai out of 225,000 working rooms around Egypt, according to Ministry of Tourism statistics.
South Sinai provided 45% of the total tourism income last year, according to a Ministry of Tourism official who requested anonymity. Egypt’s tourism income amounted to $7.5bn last year.
“Increasing the airport capacity will raise the number of charter air flights to South Sinai, in addition to increasing their passenger numbers, which, at the end, serves the occupancy rates of hotels,” the official said.