Low-cost carrier Air Cairo has taken delivery of its Airbus A320neo this week. The airline is an all-A320 operator and flies to destinations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe along with charter operations. The newest aircraft will allow Air Cairo to expand into new markets, including Western Europe, Africa, and more.
Monday marked the delivery of Air Cairo’s first A320neo. The plane is leased from ICBC and opens up several new markets for the airline. The aircraft features 186 seats in an all-economy layout, a standard for budget airlines around the world. Notably, all seats come with inflight entertainment systems, signaling that the jet will be deployed on new longer routes as well.
The A320neo brings a host of efficiency upgrades over its predecessor A320-200s. The aircraft comes with LEAP-1A engines which offer 20% in fuel savings and lower carbon dioxide emissions. However, the most exciting changes for the airline come in the range as well.
Currently, Air Cairo also operates a fleet of six A320ceos which are 9.9-years-old on average, according to Planespotters.net. Four of these jets were delivered in 2006-07, while one came in 2017, and the last one in November 2020.
The A320neo can fly 3,500 nautical miles with a full load, opening up new destinations for Air Cairo. While the airline flies to Western Europe through charters, the efficient A320neo could create scheduled route opportunities. An expansion to Western Europe, nearly all of Africa, and South Asia are all now possible.
For now, Air Cairo is focusing on an expansion into West Africa, according to CH-Aviation. New routes to Conakry, Guinea via Niamey, Niger, will begin soon along with fifth-freedom rights on the Niamey-Conakry leg. Lusaka and South Sudan are also on the radar, with moves being made to establish services.
However, as the fleet grows, Air Cairo could venture into South and Central Asia in the coming years as well. There is room for more connectivity to Egypt from these regions currently, making it a prime target as tourism traffic slowly recovers.
The A320neo will quickly become a mainstay in Air Cairo’s fleet. By 2024, the carrier will take delivery of 19 new A320neos, tripling the fleet size. This year, however, the airline will only take delivery of one more aircraft. The Egyptian government has cited airlines as being key to help the larger economy recovery in the coming years.
Since Air Cairo is majority-owned by EgyptAir (60%) and the two currently codeshare on several routes. For now, Air Cairo is focusing on slowly recovering passenger numbers as vaccines roll out and borders reopen. However, the future certainly looks bright for the airline.
What do you think about Air Cairo’s expansion plans? Have you ever flown with them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!