January 26, 2019 / 8:37 PM / in 22 days

Egypt opens new international airport in Giza for trial flights

A police officer walks in front of a poster presenting an Egyptian plane at the new Sphinx International Airport in west Cairo, Egypt January 26, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt opened a new international airport on the outskirts of the capital on Saturday for an initial trial period, in a bid to ease pressure from Cairo’s main airport and help boost tourism.

The Sphinx International Airport, located near the Giza Pyramids and the new Grand Egyptian Museum, is expected to operate 30 flights by early February during its trial run.

The $17 million project comes as part of the Tourism Ministry’s plan to improve accessibility to historical sites from resort areas on the Red sea like Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. It will fully open in 2020.

The bombing of a Russian airliner shortly after it took off from Sharm el Sheikh in 2015 hit tourism numbers hard, continuing a downward trend that started with the years of turmoil following the “Arab Spring” protests of 2011.

Tourism revenues had begun to rebound, jumping 77 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018 to $4.8 billion, before a deadly attack on a bus in December killed three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide.

The bus attack was the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt for over a year.

Reporting by Mohamed Zaki; Writing by Mostafa Salem and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Edmund Blair

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