Epic EgyptAir: A Look At The Carrier’s North American Operations

Two airlines offer non-stop service between North America and Egypt this year: EgyptAir and Air Canada. The latter began Montreal-Cairo earlier this month on a three-weekly basis using the Boeing 787-8 – some 12 years after EgyptAir ended the route. We explore the Egyptian flag carrier’s North American operations. Where does it serve, and where do people go?

Epic EgyptAir: A Look At The Carrier’s North American Operations
EgyptAir serves three destinations in North America this year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

In reality, non-stop service is all about EgyptAir, although Delta served Cairo from New York JFK between 2008 and 2011. Indeed, in the current year, the Egypt flag carrier has 394,000 round-trip seats available according to Cirium schedules data. That’s a hefty 89% of what it had in pre-coronavirus 2019, although that doesn’t indicate yields or loads.

Epic EgyptAir: A Look At The Carrier’s North American Operations
Toronto and Washington leave Cairo late at night or very early morning. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

EgyptAir to the US and Canada

This year, EgyptAir serves New York JFK, Toronto, and Washington Dulles. In a week in mid-August, the Star Alliance operator is offering the following:

  • JFK: once-daily by the B777-300ER
  • Toronto: four-weekly by the B787-9
  • Dulles: three-weekly by the B787-9

Unlike other carriers, such as Qatar Airways, EgyptAir does not have highly coordinated timings to facilitate connections, mainly as it is more focused on point-to-point (P2P) demand. Indeed, Toronto and Dulles are both overnight services from Cairo, while JFK leaves during the day:

  • JFK: leaves Cairo at 09:35, arriving 15:15; leaves at 18:30, arriving the next day at 11:00
  • Toronto leaves at 01:15-06:45; returning 14:05-06:25 (next day)
  • Dulles: 23:20-05:10 (next day); returning 12:00-04:30 (next day)

As you’d expect, JFK has seen served for many years, while Toronto was added in 2012 and Dulles only in 2019. We showed that Dulles is Ethiopian Airlines’ top US destination.

Epic EgyptAir: A Look At The Carrier’s North American Operations
EgyptAir’s network this year. Montreal existed until 2009 and used both the A340-200 (yes, -200!) and B777-200ER. Image: GCMap

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84.7% New York load factor

As with most long-haul carriers, including Emirates and Turkish Airlines, JFK is obviously EgyptAir’s leading destination in North America. In 2019, it had 244,000 seats and over half (55%) of EgyptAir’s total to the continent.

According to the Department of Transport’s T-100 data, Cairo-JFK had an 84.7% seat load factor (SLF) that year, higher than the carrier’s system average. But as always, this on its own says nothing of financial performance.

Some 208,000 passengers were carried, booking data from OAG Traffic Analyzer reveals. Of these, approximately 136,000 were P2P, showing the significance of both Egyptian diaspora and tourism to the capital. A further ~43,000 people connected over Cairo, 25,000 flew over JFK to Cairo, and a meager ~4,000 ‘bridged’ both airports.

Epic EgyptAir: A Look At The Carrier’s North American Operations
When writing this article, MS985 is en route from Cairo to JFK with seven and a half hours remaining. Image: RadarBox.com.

Saudi Arabia key

Just one in five passengers (21%) to/from JFK connected over Cairo with EgyptAir. A greater percentage of P2P traffic is typically preferable to those transiting as such passengers are higher-yielding and less costly.

Two countries – Saudi Arabia and (wider) Egypt – saw almost half (48%) of transit passengers, with Sudan also reasonably important. JFK to Jeddah was the largest market, as follows, with EgyptAir having about a 20% share of that particular transit market.

  1. JFK to/from Jeddah
  2. Khartoum
  3. Medina
  4. Luxor
  5. Amman
  6. Alexandria
  7. Aswan
  8. Mumbai
  9. Riyadh
  10. Beirut

Have you flown EgyptAir or have any trip planned with them? Let us know in the comments.

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