As Egypt’s tourism struggles to revive a severe decline, a passenger on board an EgyptAir flight carrying 150 passengers was detained after storming the pilot’s cockpit, the airline said.
EgyptAir said that the passenger was unarmed and was detained upon the plane’s landing.
EgyptAir said that the Friday incident took place on board charter airline Cairo Air flight 462 en route to Alexandria’s Borg el-Arab airport from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia
A state of emergency was declared by the authorities at the airport after being notified by the pilot of the incident.
Egypt has suffered two major airline incidents over the past year which threatened tourism in the country.
Egypt’s tourism has faced major blows recently. Last May, Egypt Air flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea killing all 66 passengers on board. The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean. The cause of the crash remains unknown.
In October 2015, a Russian passenger plane was downed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 passengers and the crew. Sinai Province, an affiliated group to the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for that attack.
Both the British and Russian governments have banned their airlines from traveling to Sharm AL-Sheikh for security concerns after the bombing of the Russian passenger plane.
Egypt’s tourism has declined since the first half of the year 2016 by 41.3% with nearly 2.328 million tourists. The highest tourist rate recorded was 14.7 million tourists in 2010. This withdrawal is due to the sharp decline in the number of tourists from Russia, that is considered the major market for exporting foreign tourists to Egypt.
In 2015, the number of tourists who visited Egypt was 9.3 million with 6% decrease compared to the number of tourists in 2014. Moreover, tourism revenues were $6.1 bn with 15% decrease compared to that in 2014.
Egypt’s economy is witnessing one of its harshest downfalls in its history. The withdrawal of tourism and foreign investment -the two major sources of hard currency- led to a severe shortage of foreign currency. As a result, the price of dollars increases relative to the Egyptian currency. Later, the central bank of Egypt tried to resolve the problem through the devaluation of the Egyptian currency, but it has not solved the problem until now.