New Delhi : A month after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Egypt, its national carrier EgyptAir on Friday announced the first direct flight from Cairo to New Delhi.
EgyptAir, the national carrier of Egypt, encourages tourism and travel movements and continues its plans to develop, modernize and expand the airline's network.
Egypt Ambassador to India Wael Hamed addressed the inaugural session of the flight in Delhi and in an exclusive interview with ANI highlighted the role of PM Modi's trip to Cairo and said, “It (the agreement) was signed during his (PM Modi's) visit to Cairo to initiate direct connectivity between both countries.”
The ambassador stressed it would boost trade between the two countries and said, “Of course, direct connectivity will boost our trade and tourism industry.”
On being asked about easing Visa norms, the ambassador replied, he is very hopeful about issuing visas without any hurdle to the Indian passport holders. “The visa should be the least of your worries. The Embassy issues the visa in a very short time. Nobody has ever complained about this. But also, I am happy to announce that holders of Indian passports who have visas from the US or Schengen visas or Canadian visas or Australian visas can enter Egypt with a visa on arrival. There is also the possibility for tourist groups to apply for electronic visas...,” the envoy told ANI.
Egypt's Ambassador to India Wael Hamed says, "When the PM (Modi) was in Cairo just over six weeks ago, an agreement was signed on strategic cooperation between Egypt and India. But strategic cooperation needs people-to-people contact...Without an air connection, the efforts were very difficult. Now, things are going to be easier for both countries to connect, easier for tourists to go and come...We really have to look at tourism as a means to promote people-to-people contact because they come with opportunities, they come with ideas and this is important for our strategic relationships."
Meanwhile, VFS Global, the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions said that the firm is working closely with Egyptian authorities to promote tourism to Egypt and ease the visa experience for Indians visiting Cairo. "In line with our trusted partnership with the Egyptian government we are committed to aid tourist inflows to the country, also assist visa applicants through our wide network of visa application centres in India as well as our technology-led services," said Prabuddha Sen, Chief Operating Officer, (South Asia), VFS Global.
The Cairo-Delhi route will be served by an A320neo aircraft. EgyptAir's eight A320neos have an average age of just 1.8 years. The carrier has six Boeing 787-9s in its widebody fleet and two more Dreamliners are expected in the next few years.
It is also expected that it will reduce fuel usage by around 20 per cent as compared to previous generation aircraft. Moreover, EgyptAir's current fleet reduces emissions by 60 percent.
PM Modi was on a state visit to Egypt from June 24-25. He met with Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouly, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and interacted with members of the Indian diaspora.
PM Modi held a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during which they signed an agreement to elevate the bilateral relationship to a "Strategic Partnership". The two leaders discussed ways to further deepen the partnership between the two nations, including trade, investment, defence, security, renewable energy, cultural and people-to-people ties.
Moreover, he also visited the pyramids of Giza in Cairo and the Al-Hakim Mosque as well. PM Modi also held a roundtable meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouly in Cairo. PM Modi also met thought leaders in Egypt as a part of his two-day visit to the Arab nation.
Furthermore, the opening of new routes and expansion of EgyptAir's network is in line with the Ministry of Civil Aviation's directives to connect the Arab Republic of Egypt with various countries of the world through the hub of Cairo.
EgyptAir recently added Dhaka in Bangladesh, New Jersey in North America and Manchester in England to its network to serve the company's new customers around the world.