CAIRO: Egypt has welcomed its first international tourist flight after a hiatus of more than three months caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The flight from Ukraine arrived at Hurghada International Airport on Wednesday, with passengers praising the thorough precautionary procedures implemented on arrival, during transfers and at their hotels.
A number of tourists expressed their happiness at being able to visit Egypt, adding that they were looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere on the coast of the Red Sea and at the city of Hurghada itself.
Amr Hanafi, governor of the Red Sea region, told journalists that after the period of disruption caused by COVID-19, he was happy with the arrival of the flight.
Hanafi said that 166 tourists had arrived from Ukraine, and that others had since arrived throughout the day. He stressed that all precautionary and preventive measures had been put in place for them from the moment they landed to their arrival at their hotels.
Those measures included the use of thermal cameras to take the temperature of passengers in the arrivals lounge, stickers reminding people to keep two meters apart, as well as various information notices for passengers to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of staff.
Hanafi was at the airport to receive the plane and talk with the passengers about the procedures, and oversaw the sterilization of luggage. He said that the disinfection process took 25 minutes in order to be extra safe.
The governor added that the tourists were greeted with a performance by a traditional folk band, carried out with full precautionary measures, ensuring social distancing between both the band members and the audience during the show, which took place in an open air part of Hurghada International Airport.
Ahmed Youssef, head of the Tourism Promotion Authority, said that on Thursday the airport would receive another flight from Switzerland, and that other flights would begin to arrive from several more countries in the coming days, lending hope for a revival of tourism in the Red Sea area.
Youssef added that he visited a number of hotels and tourist villages that had health and safety certificates showing their implementation of COVID-19 preventative measures, praising them for their diligence and dedication to maintaining safety standards.
EgyptAir, Egypt’s national carrier, stated that it had resumed regular international flights from Cairo International Airport on Wednesday.
Fourteen EgyptAir flights carrying around 2,000 passengers departed on Wednesday to several countries, with the first, a flight to Tunisia, carrying 35 passengers.
“We are pleased to receive our customers with all preventive measures in place, from when the passenger enters the airport to when they reach their destinations,” Rushdi Zakaria, president of the Holding Company of EgyptAir, said.
Yesterday, Cairo saw the arrival of 38 international flights from various destinations ranging from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.