Cairo International Airport

Cairo International Airport
مطار القاهرة الدولي
Maṭār al-Qāhirah al-Duwaliyy
Airport type Public
Operator Cairo Airport Company
Serves Cairo, Egypt
Location Heliopolis
Hub for Air Cairo
EgyptAir Express
Nesma Airlines
Nile Air
Elevation AMSL 382 ft / 116 m
Coordinates 30°07′19″N 31°24′20″E / 30.12194°N 31.40556°E / 30.12194; 31.40556Coordinates: 30°07′19″N 31°24′20″E / 30.12194°N 31.40556°E / 30.12194; 31.40556
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05L/23R 3,301 10,830 Asphalt
05C/23C 3,999 13,120 Asphalt
05R/23L 4,000 13,123 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passengers 14,711,500
Economic impact $2.0 billion[1]
Social impact 211.5 thousand[1]
Sources: Airport website[2] and DAFIF[3][4]
Passenger statistics[1]

Cairo International Airport (IATA: CAI, ICAO: HECA) (Arabic: مطار القاهرة الدولي; Maṭār al-Qāhirah al-Duwaliyy) is the international airport of Cairo and the busiest in Egypt and serves as the primary hub for EgyptAir, EgyptAir Express and Nile Air as well as several other airlines. The airport is located in Heliopolis, to the northeast of the Cairo around 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the business area of the city and has an area of approximately 37 square kilometres (14 sq mi). It is the second busiest airport in Africa after OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.


During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces built Payne Airfield to serve the Allied Forces, rather than take over the existing Almaza Airport located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) away. Payne Field was a major Air Transport Command air cargo and passenger hub, connecting westwards through Benghazi Airport (during the war known as Soluch Airfield) to Algiers airport on the North African route to Dakar Airport in French West Africa.

Other locations which transport routes were flown were RAF Habbaniya, Iraq on the Cairo – Karachi, India route; Lydda Airport, British Palestine; Jeddah, Arabia, on the Central African route to Roberts Field, Liberia (1941–1943), and later after the war ended, Athens, Greece and on to destinations in Europe.[5]

When American forces left the base at the end of the war, the Civil Aviation Authority took over the facility and began using it for international civil aviation. In 1963, Cairo International Airport replaced the old Heliopolis Airport, which had been located at the Hike-Step area in the east of Cairo.[6]

The airport is administered by the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation, which controls the Cairo Airport Company, the Egyptian Airports Company, National Air Navigation Services and Aviation Information Technology, and the Cairo Airport Authority. In 2004, Fraport AG won the management contract to run the airport for eight years, with options to extend the contract twice in one year increments.[7]


The terminal facilities include Departure Hall 1, International Hall 3, and Hall 4 for private and non-commercial aircraft services. As part of the recent upgrading and facility improvement scheme, the CAA demolished the old Hall 3, previously used for domestic arrivals and departures, to reconstruct a new hall to be used for international arrivals. Terminal 1 is locally known as the "Old Airport," although its facilities were recently given a complete overhaul and are newer than those of Terminal 2, which is still known as the "New Airport."

Terminal 1

Departures area at Terminal 1

Terminal 1 was originally used by EgyptAir and several Middle Eastern airlines. However, an increasing number of other foreign carriers, such as Air France and KLM transferred operations from Terminal 2 in 2006. In May 2009 EgyptAir moved all its operations to the new Terminal 3 (along with all Star Alliance airlines serving the airport). In March 2010, with the closure of Terminal 2 for major renovation works, all non-Star Alliance airlines serving the airport shifted operations to the terminal.

Departures and arrivals are with all airlines departing from Terminal 1 Hall 1, with the exception Saudia which is the sole tenant of Terminal 1 Hall 2 due to the size of their operations (SV accounted for 65% of Terminal 2's traffic in 2009). Most international airlines arrive in Hall 3. Arrival Hall 2 was recently reopened and serves international and domestic arrivals.

The CAC has inaugurated the "Airport City Concept" to provide an array of services and entertainment facilities to travelers, airport visitors, as well as the general public. The first phase, a new shopping mall called the 'AirMall,' has been built near Terminal 1's International Arrival Hall 3.

As of 2009 the facade of the terminal was being upgraded. A study on reorganizing the departure and arrival halls is ongoing as well as the feasibility study to include contact stands to improve the service and comfort levels to the passengers. Terminal 1 has 12 gates.

Hall 4

Terminal 1, Hall 4 is dedicated to private and executive jet services. Even though it is referred to as a 'Hall' under Terminal 1 it is operated independently from the commercial passenger terminal. It has proven to be one of the most successful general aviation halls in the Middle East.

Smart Aviation Company has been based at the building since 2007; it moved to a new executive FBO in 2010 adjacent to Hall 4.

Terminal 2

Apron view

Terminal 2 was inaugurated in 1986 with 7 boarding gates.[8] It primarily served European, Gulf and East Asian airlines. The terminal was closed in April 2010 for complete renovations starting in 2012 and lasting 36 months. The architecture of the building limited the opportunities for further expansion which necessitated the entire building to be closed for major structural overhaul at an estimated cost of approximately $400 million.

In February 2010 the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved a loan amount of $387 million to support the Cairo Airport Development Project (CADP) to overhaul the terminal with national banks providing the rest. The project will increase the terminal capacity from 3 million to 7.5 million passengers annually. The entire terminal's "look and feel" will improve dramatically once the renovation works are completed. The upgrade shall include the complete modernization of the 20-year-old facility to reach the same level of service as the new Terminal 3. Once completed, the renovated terminal will be operated jointly with Terminal 3 as one integrated terminal, thus, reinforcing the role of Cairo International Airport as a regional hub.

The renovated terminal is scheduled for reopening in 2016 and will double the capacity of T2 to around 7.5 million passengers and double the number of gates from 7 to 14 (and an additional 5 remote stands). Upon completion the terminal will raise the airport's passenger capacity to 24 million.

The terminal will include larger and more modern retail areas and will include gates to handle the huge Airbus A380. Upon completion in 2016 the passengers can expect a highly modern terminal offering international standard service levels and more passenger conveniences, including large retail areas and lounges.

The terminal is scheduled to open for flights in September 2016.

In August 2011, Turkey's Limak Holding won the tender for modernizing the terminal.

Terminal 3

Nile Air Airbus A320 Special ' Egypt Tourism' Livery at Cairo International Airport (June 2016)
Aerial overview

Given projected growth, and the limited ability to expand Terminal 2, the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation began construction of Terminal 3 in 2004. The terminal was officially inaugurated by the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on 18 December 2008 and opened for commercial operations on 27 April 2009. The facility is twice as large as the current two terminal buildings combined, with the capacity to handle 11 million passengers annually (6 million international and 5 million domestic) once the first phase is completed. It is adjacent to Terminal 2, and the two terminals are initially connected by a bridge.

With its hub at the airport, EgyptAir's operations were overhauled with the full transfer of its operations (international and domestic) into the state-of-the-art terminal between 27 April and 15 June 2009. To implement the Star Alliance "Move Under One Roof" concept, all Alliance members serving the airport were relocated to the terminal by the first of August 2009.

The new terminal includes:

Seasonal flight terminal

On 20 September 2011 Prime Minister Sharaf inaugurated the new Seasonal Flights Terminal (ST), located west of Terminal 3. During the start-up phase EgyptAir operates its daily flight to Medina from the new Terminal. All Hajj traffic of EgyptAir will move to the ST while Saudia's Hajj flights will still operate from Terminal 1. More destinations might be added during winter.

The terminal has an annual capacity of 3.2 million passengers with 27 check-in counters and 7 gates with a common gate and single security concept, the first in Cairo. It is designed to handle 1,200 passengers per hour. Passengers will be bussed to remote aircraft stands around Terminal 3. Its purpose is to ease operational strains on the existing terminals during pilgrim seasons.[9]


EgyptAir Airbus A321-231 and Boeing 777-300ER at Cairo International Airport
EgyptAir Express Embraer 170 at Cairo International Airport


The airport has four terminals, the third (and largest) opened on 27 April 2009 and the Seasonal Flights Terminal opened on 20 September 2011. Terminal 2 was closed in April 2010 for major renovation works to the building's structure and facilities. A third parallel runway replaced the crossing runway in 2010.[10] Runway 05L/23R is 3,301 metres (10,830 ft) long, 05C/23C has a length of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), and the new runway is designated as 05R/23L and is 3,999 metres (13,120 ft). A new cargo terminal is also under construction.

Future developments

With the national carrier, EgyptAir, and the Egyptian authorities planning to develop the airport as a hub for the Middle East and Africa, the airport facilities are in constant development.

Several projects are underway, including:

Airlines and destinations


Aegean AirlinesAthens[11] 3
AeroflotMoscow-Sheremetyevo (suspended) 1
African Express AirwaysBerbera, Hargeisa 1
Afriqiyah AirwaysMisrata, Tripoli 1
Air AlgérieAlgiers 1
Air ArabiaRas al Khaimah, Sharjah 1
Air CairoAmman, Jeddah 1
Air FranceParis-Charles de Gaulle 1
Air LeisureCharter: Aswan, Athens, Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Chongqing, Denpasar/Bali, Hong Kong, Hurghada, Shanghai-Pudong, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan[12] 1
Alexandria AirlinesCharter: Alexandria, Aqaba, Luxor 1
AlitaliaRome-Fiumicino 1
AlMasria Universal Airlines Bahrain, Bergamo, Buraidah, Jeddah, Kuwait, Tabuk, Ta'if, Yanbu 1
Austrian Airlines Vienna 3
Badr AirlinesKhartoum 1
British AirwaysLondon-Heathrow 1
EgyptAirAbha, Abidjan,[13] Abu Dhabi, Abuja, Accra, Addis Ababa, Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Algiers, Amman-Queen Alia, Amsterdam, Ankara, Asmara, Assiut, Aswan, Athens, Baghdad, Bahrain, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing-Capital, Beirut, Berlin-Schönefeld, Brussels, Casablanca, Copenhagen, Dammam, Dar es Salaam, Doha, Dubai-International, Entebbe, Erbil, Frankfurt, Gassim,[13] Geneva, Guangzhou, Hurghada, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta,[14] Jeddah, Johannesburg-OR Tambo, Juba, Kano, Khartoum, Kuala Lumpur–International,[14] Kuwait, Lagos, London-Heathrow, Luxor, Madrid, Medina, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Domodedovo (resumes 3 December 2016),[15] Mumbai, Munich, Muscat, Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta, N'Djamena,[16] New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh, Rome-Fiumicino, Sharjah, Sharm el-Sheikh, Thessaloniki (begins 2 June 2017), Toronto-Pearson, Tunis, Vienna
Seasonal: Mykonos (begins 6 June 2017)
Charter: Osaka-kansai[17]
operated by Air Sinai
Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion 3
operated by EgyptAir Express
Abu Simbel, Alexandria-Borg el Arab, Aswan, Athens, Budapest, Hurghada, Larnaca, Luxor, Marsa Alam, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sohag
Seasonal: Mersa Matruh
Emirates Dubai-International 1
Eritrean AirlinesKhartoum, Milan-Malpensa[18] 1
Ethiopian AirlinesAddis Ababa 3
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi 1
FlynasJeddah, Riyadh[19] 1
Gulf AirBahrain 1
Iraqi AirwaysBaghdad, Sulaimaniyah[20] 1
Jazeera AirwaysKuwait2
Kenya AirwaysNairobi-Jomo Kenyatta1
Korean AirSeoul-Incheon 1
KLMAmsterdam (ends 6 January 2017)[21] 1
Kuwait AirwaysKuwait 2
Libyan AirlinesBenghazi, Misrata, Sebha, Tripoli 1
LufthansaFrankfurt, Munich 3
MeridianaMilan-Malpensa 1
Middle East AirlinesBeirut 1
Nesma AirlinesAbha, Al-Jawf, Hail, Jeddah, Nejran, Qassim, Tabuk, Ta'if, Yanbu 1
Nile AirAbha, Al Ain, Al-Jawf, Baghdad, Basra, Buraidah, Hofuf, Hurghada,[22] Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Jeddah, Jizan, Kuwait, Port Sudan, Sharm el-Sheikh,[22] Tabuk, Ta'if, Yanbu 1
Oman AirMuscat 1
Palestinian Airlines El Arish[23] 1
Petroleum Air ServicesEl Kharga, Hurghada, Luxor, Port Said, Ras Shokeir, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sharq Al-Owainat[24]
Charter: Antalya, Basra, Mykonos, Paphos[25]
Qatar AirwaysDoha 1
Royal Air MarocCasablanca 2
Royal FalconAmman-Queen Alia 1
Royal JordanianAmman-Queen Alia 2
SaudiaAbha, Dammam, Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Tabuk[26] 1
Sudan AirwaysKhartoum, Port Sudan 1
Sun AirKhartoum 1
Syrian AirDamascus, Latakia 1
Swiss International Air LinesZürich 3
Tarco AirlinesKhartoum[27] 1
TunisairTunis 1
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul-Atatürk 3
Yemenia Sana'a1 1


Air France CargoParis-Charles de Gaulle, Reunion
CargoluxBeirut, Luxembourg
DHL International Aviation MEBahrain
EgyptAir CargoChateauroux-Centre, Cologne/Bonn, Istanbul-Atatürk, Juba, Milan-Malpensa, N'Djamena, Ostend/Bruges, Ras Al Khaimah
Emirates SkyCargoDubai-Al Maktoum[29]
Ethiopian Airlines CargoAddis Ababa, Beirut, Liège[30]
Kalitta AirCharleston
Lufthansa CargoFrankfurt, Hong Kong, Milan-Malpensa, Sharjah
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha
RAM Cargo Casablanca
Royal Jordanian CargoAmman-Queen Alia, Maastricht/Aachen
Turkish Airlines CargoIstanbul-Atatürk[32]

Ground transport

Limousines and shuttle buses

There are several ways to leave Cairo airport upon arrival. The most convenient way is by one of the numerous "limousine services". Pick-up points are in front of the terminals (curb side). The prices are fixed depending on the destination and the car category. Category A are luxury limousines (e.g. Mercedes-Benz E-Class), Category B are Micro Buses for up to seven passengers, Category C are midsized cars (e.g. Mitsubishi Lancer) and new Category D are London Taxis.[33]


The old black and white taxis usually do not have a meter and prices are negotiated before travelling while the newer white taxis have meters.


The airport can be reached via Oroba Road from Heliopolis or via the new road, connection Terminal 3 with the intersection between Ring Road and Suez Road. The toll for driving to the airport is EGP 5.

Accidents and incidents


See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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  13. 1 2 Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
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  15. Liu, Jim (3 November 2016). "Egypt Air proposes Russia service resumption from Dec 2016". Routesonline. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  16. Archived 15 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
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  20. Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
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  27. Archived 6 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
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  32. "Winter Schedule 2012/13" (PDF). Turkish Airlines Cargo.
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  35. "SU-AJG Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  36. "The Most Improved Airports". 1 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
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