advertisement

By Plane

Cairo -- Cairo International Airport (CAI) is the main international hub for Egypt. EgyptAir, which has a virtual domestic monopoly, uses it as its hub for internal flights (often meaning that relatively short distances must be covered with long flights to Cairo and then back out to the final destination). There are two other airports in Cairo, but they are both used exclusively for private internal and government flights.

Many major European and Middle Eastern airlines have regular flights into Cairo International. These include Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Air, British Airways, Czech Airlines, Emirates, Gulf Air, Iberia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Kuwait Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysian Airlines, Maley, Olympic Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, Swiss International, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines. EgyptAir, the Egyptian national carrier, also operates flights to most major European hubs and has a daily direct flight to New York.

Sharm el Sheikh (SSH) -- Sharm el Sheikh International Airport (SSH) now receives international flights directly from all over the world from major airlines including Alitalia, Austrian Air, British Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Royal Jordanian, and Swiss International, as well as many low-cost operators such as Air One, Condor, Eurofly, and Transavia. This is a good port of entry to the Sinai. Dahab, St. Catherine, and Taba are a few hours' drive from Sharm, and EgyptAir flights are cheap and reasonably reliable. Very rarely this airport is also referred to by its Israeli name Ophira.

Alexandria Burg al Arab (HBE) -- Farther outside Alexandria than Al Nozha, but with more-modern facilities and a longer runway, this airport is serviced by EgyptAir, Emirates, and Lufthansa/United Airlines. There is a shuttle from the airport into the middle of Alexandria, but though flights from Cairo are cheap (around LE300/$55/£28 for a return flight), any of the express trains from Ramsis are a more pleasant way to get there and, at around 2 1/2 hours, quicker when you take into account the transfer time.

Alexandria al Nozha (ALY) -- Closer to the city than the newer Burg al Arab facilities, Al Nozha has an unnervingly short runway and is only used by EgyptAir. Unless you're a fan of exciting landings, you're better off on the train from Ramsis. Airfare from Cairo is the same as for Burg al Arab.

Luxor International (LXR) -- This airport is serviced mainly by internal EgyptAir flights and international low-cost charter carriers such as My Air, TNT, and Transavia (which runs popular direct flights to Amsterdam). Flying time from Cairo is about an hour, making this an excellent alternative to the tedious and sometimes uncomfortable 12-hour train trip from Cairo. Return airfare from Cairo is around LE1,000 ($180/£93).

Aswan al Daraw (ASW) -- This small but surprisingly new little airport is serviced by EgyptAir. Annoyingly, many flights from Cairo require a 2- to 3-hour layover in Luxor (which is more than the flying time) and a change of planes. If you're going to fly, check that the flight is direct. Return airfare from Cairo is around LE1,400 ($253/£130).

Abu Simbel (ABS) -- This airport is exclusively for EgyptAir tourist flights. Flying rather than driving makes sense, as there's nothing to see en route, and waiting for the convoy can be pretty tedious.

Hurghada (HRG) -- This small, modern airport effectively serves Gouna, Hurghada, Makadi Bay, Soma Bay, Safaga, and Quseir. It is served direct from Europe by low-cost operators such as Condor, Thomas Cook, and Tranasavia, as well as internally by EgyptAir. Airfare from Cairo is around LE750 ($136/£69), and will save you a tedious and unpleasant bus trip.

Marsa Allam (RMF) -- EgyptAir was flying to Marsa Allam twice weekly (Sun and Wed) at the time of writing. However, demand is sure to increase dramatically in this area, and the number of flights should as well. Price for a return ticket is around LE1,200 ($218/£109).

Marsa Matruh (MUH) -- There is only service here during the summer, when EgyptAir usually has a few flights a week.

Taba (TCP) -- This airport is currently only being used by direct charters from European hubs.

Kharga (UVL) -- This airport services one EgyptAir flight a week, on Sundays. Ticket price is LE400 ($73/£37). You may have a problem booking a seat -- this is officially a government flight, but the EgyptAir office in Kharga can do it. If you run into problems in Cairo, phone Mahmoud Shokri at the Kharga office (tel. 092/7921695).

Flying to Cairo for Less -- A number of low-cost airlines in Europe are now well known for their cheap flights to Egypt. Expect crowded planes, little leg room, and low, low prices. Dutch-based Transavia (tel. 20/4060406; http://en.transavia.com/en) has taken a lot of business away from major airlines with its cut-rate flights to Sharm el Sheikh and Luxor from Amsterdam.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.