South Africa has been struggling economically in recent times and this has affected the air cargo market.
EgyptAir Cargo operates three flights a week into the country from Cairo using an Airbus A330-300 passenger aircraft and has felt the strain.
The carrier’s vice president of cargo operations, Walaa Yousri says the air cargo business is “not good enough” for EgyptAir Cargo at the moment due to flight frequency decreasing and unstable economical status.
He says the economic slowdown in South Africa has impacted business, explains it has had a great effect especially on export of goods into South Africa. The main types of cargo he notes that it moves are meat, flowers and automotives.
EgyptAir Cargo is aiming to grow in the region and Yousri says it had approved a fleet development plan and network expansion to achieve its strategy on Africa growth by converting two A330-300 passenger aircrafts to freighters as well as A320 aircraft to expand the network as a first step.
He would like to see improvements to boost the South African air cargo market: “We hope to reach an open skies policy applied for better utilisation of the space and routes offered in the South African air cargo market.”
Yousri says within five years, EgyptAir Cargo will acquire a mixed fleet of aircraft from short to long range and five freighters, including three A330-300 Freighters and two A320 Freighters to cope with its expansion plans on the network.
There are operating challenges though across Africa, which continue to hinder growth and expansion for carriers such as EgyptAir Cargo.
Yousri says there are: “Air traffic rights difficulty especially on the fifth freedom within Africa. The transport of cargo from one African nation to the other, sometimes may not be possible for overflying restrictions, or road transport – this process contributes to the enormous cost added to the movement of cargo from/to sister African countries.
“Local currency devaluation, which has a negative impact on the trade exchange between nation states. Movement and the government rules being more strict on transference of airlines’ dues.”