Yesterday on Flying With Fish I wrote about Egyptair’s new route map leaving Tel Aviv blank on its route map, despite the airline flying there in this post – Politics & Airline Route Maps … Egyptair Omits Israel
we do not fly to Israel, where on the map on our website we place only the names of the destinations we fly to.
I responded to Egyptair with the following replies:
So Egyptair does not wholly own Air Sinai, operated only by Egyptair aircraft & crew, serving CAI-TLV?
Also, both CAI & TLV show regularly scheduled service by Egyptair, under the name Air Sinai (4D) & your aircraft is seen in TLV
The response from Egyptair was the following:
Yes, but the map on our website exclusively show destinations to which our own EA flights travel to.
Here is where Egyptair’s stance on the removal of Israel’s Tel Aviv from its route map gets tricky.
On a technicality, Egyptair does not technically fly to Tel Aviv under its own name. Flights on Egyptair between Cairo-Tel Aviv are exclusively flown under the airline name of “Air Sinai,” although Air Sinai is wholly owned by Egyptair and was established by the airline in 1982 for the exclusive purpose of flying between Cairo and Tel Aviv. While Egyptair’s IATA code is “MS,” Air Sinai has its own IATA code of “4D.” Egyptair flights, operated by Air Sinai even use the radio call sign of “Air Sinai” instead of “Egyptair.”
Despite the technicalities, Air Sinai is Egyptair. Not only does Egyptair wholly own Air Sinai, but Air Sinai does not have its own staff, its own offices or its own aircraft. All flights are operated by Egyptair staff, on Egyptair aircraft. Flights on Air Sinai are called out as Egyptair flights over the public address system in the airport … and passengers can only purchase flights on Air Sinai through Egyptair.
Egyptair has gone so far as to remove the option to book flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv from their website, all while flying regularly scheduled flights between the cities. The removal of these flights from online booking, even from the local Egyptian website, makes far less sense than the removal of Tel Aviv from the route map. Airlines fly routes to make money and any airline omitting a specific destination they serve is doing a disservice to their company, their brand, their passengers and their financial bottom line. If an airline serves a route it should seek to let it be known, not hide it, so that can capitalize on the potential in service the route.
Making a flight operated on a regular schedule challenging to find and even more challenging to book pushes customers to other airlines. Egyptair’s competitor on the route, Israel’s El Al, makes it quite easy to find Cairo on their route map and book flights to Cairo directly from their website.
Airlines have long been used as political tools … but in the case of Egyptair hiding its Cairo – Tel Aviv service, everyone loses.
Below is a screen shot of Egyptair’s Air Sinai schedule between Tel Aviv and Cairo, from the Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport’s website.