Clamour for flights is growing as protesters urge a million people to take to the streets today
Expatriate workers are fleeing Egypt in increasing
numbers after political unrest prompted hundreds to escape Cairo in rented
business jets and airliners over the past two days, emergency-flight broker Air
The clamor for flights is growing as protesters urge a
million people to take to the streets on Tuesday and force President Hosni Mubarak
from office, Mark Briffa, Air Partner’s chief executive officer, said in an
“Evacuations will carry on as the situation
deteriorates,” Briffa said by telephone. “It depends on the stability of the
country. If Mubarak decides to stay and enforces military action then our
volumes will go up.”
Air Partner evacuated 800 people from Egypt on 14 flights
in the 36 hours through midnight last night, most of them employees of clients
in the oil, finance, telecommunications and supermarket industries, Briffa
said. About 500 were flown to the U.K., 100 to Germany, and 200 - mainly
Americans - to Dubai.
“There’s no shortage of planes at the moment but there will
be as it intensifies,” the executive said from Air Partner’s London
headquarters. “The airport itself is in complete and utter pandemonium. The
volumes in there are horrendous.”
Planes ranging from private jets to Boeing Co. 737s and a
220-seat Airbus SAS A310 wide-body have been employed in the airlift, and more
flights are contracted to take place today and tomorrow, Briffa said. Other
clients have bought rights to fly staff out at short notice as the situation
dictates, he said.
The Egyptian protests have been inspired by a revolt in
Tunisia that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan. 14. As many as
150 people have been killed in clashes with the security forces so far.
Emergency flights are tough to arrange because they
require the sourcing of a plane, airport slots, fuel, ground-handling services
and visas, all within a few hours, Air Partner said in a statement. In its
day-to-day business the company charters flights for individuals including
U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Air Partner rose 32.75 pence or 7.4 percent yesterday,
its biggest jump since Sept. 17. As of 8:29 a.m. in London the stock was
trading up 0.25 pence at 478 pence, the highest since Jan. 10 last year.