Newly appointed Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq announced on 17 June the formation of the EgyptAir Holding Company, to be headed by Abdel-Fattah Kato, who previously headed the holding company responsible for airports and air traffic control.

EgyptAir’s activities will now be run by six affiliated companies: airline operations, headed by Ahmed el-Nadi; ground services (Gamal Saleh); operations and maintenance (Atef Abdel-Hamid); air cargo (Abdelaziz Laraki); air services (Hatem Abdelsalam); and tourism and duty free shops (no chief executive yet appointed).

Rayan had faced mounting criticism in recent years for his running of EgyptAir, and in particular for his resistance to liberalisation of the aviation sector. His refusal to allow scheduled flights to serve airports near tourism resorts had provoked accusations from hotel operators that tourism prospects were being undermined.

Kato’s position as head of the renamed Holding Company for Airports & Air Traffichas been taken by Ibrahim Manaa. The company is in charge of all airports other than Cairo, which is still the preserve of the Cairo Airport Authority. One of the major challenges facing the sector is the expansion of Cairo airport, a project that has been treading water for the past 10 years. Shafiq said on 18 June that he was determined to press ahead with the scheme, and had made extensive studies into developments in other airports in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.