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Flights between Madina, Cairo still suspended
By Majed Al-Suqairi
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 09 - 2010

Saudi and Egyptian aviation authorities have failed to reach an open sky agreement over direct flights between the holy city of Madina and Cairo, a Saudi aviation official said, denying media reports of resumption of the direct flight between the two cities.
Khaled Al-Khudhairi, spokesman of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, said no direct flights have resumed between Madina and Cairo as of now.
Al-Khudhairi said there has been no end to the direct flights crisis between the two cities. The dispute broke out more than a year ago when Saudi budget airlines Sama and Nas Air wanted to operate direct flights between Madina and Cairo.
The Egyptian Aviation Authority refused to award the two low cost Saudi carriers, Nas Air and Sama, landing slots at Cairo International Airport as the two airlines would cause a major economic impact on EgyptAir, which used to operate daily flights to Madina.
In August, Sama, however, suspended all operations due to heavy losses, hoping for financial solutions.
In April, Saudi authorities suspended scheduled flights operated by the Egyptian national carrier, EgyptAir, between Cairo and the holy city of Madina. In turn, the Egyptians reacted by suspending the Saudi Airlines flights between the same two points.
Saudi authorities, however, allowed EgyptAir to fly to other destinations in the country. EgyptAir now operates 98 flights to Jeddah, 25 to Riyadh and 17 to Dammam weekly.
Egyptian private carrier Almasria is also allowed to operate flights to Yanbu, Abha and Jeddah.
The two sides have held several meetings in an unsuccessful effort to find a solution, but some officials in the two countries expect that the problem will be resolved soon.

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