Madinah-Cairo flights suspended
April 5- Madinah-Cairo flights have been suspended because of a dispute between the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) and its Egyptian counterpart, when the latter refused to allow two Saudi-based private airlines to land at Cairo International Airport. Even though the Egyptian airport authority promised to remove all restrictions between both countries, NAS and SAMA planes were denied clearance to carry passengers to Cairo.
Soon afterwards, Saudi Arabian Airlines was also not allowed to take Egyptian umrah pilgrims from Cairo to Madinah. GACA reacted instantly by denying permission to Egypt Air to land in Madinah. According to the details, GACA had granted Egyptian companies permission to operate 200 flights from Cairo, including 98 flights to Jeddah, 25 to Riyadh and 17 to Dammam in addition to three weekly flights to Madinah. Permission was also granted to Egyptian budget airlines to take passengers from Egypt at the rate of two flights a day to Yanbu, three weekly flights to Abha and one daily flight to Jeddah. An agreement was signed to remove airspace restrictions in February 2006. However, the agreement was not implemented properly because of Egypt Air's fear that budget airlines would dominate the industry, said an industry source.
The number of air passengers between Saudi Arabia and Egypt was 3.2 million in 2009, the highest among Arab countries.
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