First Egypt-Iran flight for 34 years

Published March 31st, 2013 - 09:14 GMT
The first flight from Cairo to Tehran for 34 years took off on Saturday in a thawing of relations
The first flight from Cairo to Tehran for 34 years took off on Saturday in a thawing of relations

Air Memphis departed Egypt’s International Airport [in Cairo] on Saturday heading to Tehran to mark the first direct flight between the two capitals since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, more than 30 years ago.

Airport sources told AFP that the charter plane, flight 8000, which is carrying eight Iranian passengers, including two diplomats, will then fly back to Egypt’s southern city of Aswan.

The airliner launched a new line between the two countries and which basically focuses on transferring Iranian tourists to and from Egypt.

Egyptian officials said recently that scheduled charter flights between Iran and Egypt would be announced soon, but no date has yet been set.

Civil Aviation Minister Wael El-Maadawy had said the flights would link the historic cities of Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel in southern Egypt with the Islamic republic.

Iran has been reaching out to Egypt since Islamists came to power in the wake of the 2011 revolution that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak, a staunch critic of Tehran.

Earlier this month, Egypt and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding to promote tourism between the two countries.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian president to visit Cairo in more than 30 years, was given a red-carpet welcome by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi when he arrived in February.

Mursi, who hails from the powerful Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, has attended a Non-Aligned Summit in Iran, becoming the first Egyptian president to travel to Tehran since the Islamic revolution.

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