Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:11 am (KSA) 21:11 pm (GMT)

Egypt to fight traffic jam by flying taxi

Helicopters will fly to major cities and new communities
Helicopters will fly to major cities and new communities

Egypt will launch a flying taxi project as part of a plan to solve traffic problems in the capital and other governorates nationwide, chairman of an Egyptian aviation company announced Monday.

Wael al-Maadawy, Chairman of Smart Aviation Company, announced in a TV interview that his company purchased five Turbo helicopters to be turned into flying taxis that will transfer Egyptians from Cairo to other governorates as well as the new residential communities around the capital.

 The new flying taxi will be afordable to all people 
Wael al-Maadawy, Smart Aviation Company

"Two of the planes will serve as air ambulances so that medical evacuation will be added to the company's diverse activities," he added.

Smart Aviation Company, which is partially owned by Egypt's national carrier EgyptAir, was the first Egyptian corporate airliner to operate flights catering for businessmen and politicians and is also the first to introduce flying medical services.

"The company will also sign a deal with the Ministry of Electricity to provide planes for cleaning electricity towers," he added.

"We are also studying a project with the Ministry of Interior to introduce fire fighting helicopters."

Maadawy pointed out that the flying taxi fare will be the same as other means of public transportation."

"The new flying taxi will be afordable to all people," he concluded.

A businessmen's dream

 It is extremely unlikely that this new project will serve the ordinary people 
Sociology professor Dr. al-Kholy Salem

According to Nabil Farid Hassanein, chairman of the Chamber of Engineering Industries at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, the flying taxi project has been the dream of several investors in Egypt.

"This project has been thoroughly studied along the past two years and several private jet operators submitted requests to implement it," he told Al Arabiya.

The new project, Hassanein added, will be of great benefit to businessmen who sometimes take up to three hours in order to go to one of the new communities outside Cairo.

"The flying taxi will connect Cairo with several new cities as the 6th of October and the 10th of Ramadan cities as well as other governorates like Alexandria," he said.

According to Hassanein, the implementation of the project requires the approval of several authorities, especially state security.

Dr. al-Kholy Salem, professor of sociology at al-Azhar University, argued that the benefits of the flying taxi will be exclusive to businessmen and the well-to-do.

"It is extremely unlikely that this new project will serve the ordinary people," he told Al Arabiya.

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)

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