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Steven Frischling
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Steven Frischling, aka: Fish, is globe hopping professional photographer, airline emerging media consultant working with large global airlines and founder of The Travel Strategist. Fish has racked up more than 1,000,000 miles since he started to track his mileage in 2005.

Fish's travel tends to be less than leisurely, including flying from New York to Basrah, Iraq, for six hours; Hong Kong for eight hours, Kuwait City for two hours and traveling around the world in 3.5 days to shoot a series of photo assignments in 4 cities and 4 countries on 3 separate continents.

Fish grew up at the end of New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L, which probably explains his enjoyment of watching planes, fly overhead. When not shooting photos or traveling Fish designs camera bags, hones is expertise on airline security and spends his time at home cheering for the Red Sox with his 3 kids 102 yards from the ocean.

Egyptair Rationalizes Israel Route Map Omission

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

This morning Egyptair sent me two messages via Twitter regarding this omission.  The first Tweet from @FlyEgyptair reads:

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.

Happy Flying

7 Responses

  1. I too tweeted their blatant omission, they know good and well why they left it out, they think they might lose business from their Arab clients if they leave it on. I say keep sticking it to them!!

  2. Once again you are showing a total lack of understanding when it comes to situations outside of your own existance.

    This is fairly common for carriers in the Middle East, El Al was just called to task for its wholly owned carrier that it operates on Sundays. This also has occured in other areas, see KLM Asia.

    Either quit trolling the internets and write something useful or shutter the blog.

    kthxbai.

  3. John (Colpuck) ,

    Your comment makes absolutely no sense in regard to the post you are commenting on, additionally your comment has significant inaccuracies.

    For starters, KLM Asia was set up and registered in Taiwan, in 1995, in order to be able to operate flights from Taipei. KLM needed to establish KLM Asia, as did other airlines in establishing similar ventures, so they could get around the politics of operating in both Taiwan (the Republic of China) and Mainland China (the Peoples Republic of China) .

    Secondly, El Al’s was not called out for operating on Sundays, as Sunday is not the Sabbath for the Jewish people. El Al’s Sun d’Or had its operating licenses revoked (Effective April 1) because it was not sufficiently separated from its parent company El Al, often using El Al aircraft and crew, and not meeting Israeli management standards. Sun d’Or was established by El Al originally as a charter service operating in certain European markets, that also operated on The Sabbath (sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday). The operating of Sun d’Ore on the Sabbath didn’t play into the loss of their operating license, but it puts El Al in a precarious position within Israel. I wrote about this here – http://bit.ly/hXnQnd , you should read it.

    As for airlines from Muslim nations omitting Tel Aviv from their route maps … Egyptair is the only one omitting cities it serves. Look at the route maps of Royal Jordanian and Turkish Airlines.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  4. Air Sinai is one of the best kept secrets of the region. I know of it is because I was working in the region at the time it was created. Royal Jordanian has Tel Aviv listed on their route network and have not lost passengers because of that. I think the new omission is due to the latest events in Egypt which culminated in a regime change and a possible new sentiment towards the peace treaty with Israel.

  5. Oussama

    What shocks me more than Egyptair removing Tel Aviv from their route map is the removal from the online booking options on their website. In order to book a flight you must now visit an Egyptair office or call them.

    I doubt serving Tel Aviv is costing Royal Jordanian or Turkish Airlines any passengers … much like El Al flying to Cairo probably isn’t cost them passengers.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  6. This is weird that EgyptAir does not fly to Tel Aviv, it would be very good to have such an option. I hope things will change soon.

  7. Avi,

    EgyptAir flies to Tel Aviv with regular service. The flights are marketed as Air Sinai, but the aircraft, crew, tickets, etc, are all EgyptAir.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

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