Egypt Braces for Power Shut Down
Monday April 1, 2013  Printer Friendly Email this article

The Egyptian government has announced that it will close the Cairo International Airport beginning on June 1 from 1:30 am to 5:30 am in order to save electricity; however, one lane at the airport will remain in operation to receiving incoming flights.

While the airport has not been hit by the power outages that have affected the rest of the city because of back-up generators, the energy situation in Egypt continues to deteriorate. Over 95% of the population has access to electricity, but the rising demand has crippled the already battered economy. Previously, the government announced that it would cut power from shops at 9 pm each night, but business owners protested against the change since many places depend on the active Egyptian night time to conduct operations.

On April 1, Cairo’s airport saw 38 flights operating between the hours of 1:30 to 5:30. Arriving flights including five from Frankfurt; two from Istanbul, Jeddah, Stockholm, and Osaka each; one local flight from Aswan; and other cities like Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Medina, Paris, and London. Departures included five to Frankfurt and local destinations like Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada, and Sharm el Sheikh; two to Addis Ababa, Istanbul, and Stockholm each; and one flight to Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, and Rome.

Although there will still be one lane at the airport that remains open, it will not be enough to accommodate the usual 38 flights on average that operate during those hours. This will undoubtedly affect the country’s tourism business in addition to the possibility of various airlines cutting back flights to Egypt (potentially indefinitely). The businesses inside the airport will also feel the burn and an overall affect on the economy will be inevitable.

Meanwhile, Futek Egyptian Micro Electronics announced that it will soon break ground on a new solar cell manufacturing plant within the North African country. The $3 million plant will cost over $7 million to operate will help boost solar production capacity; however, at what cost? Will the plant operate off of renewable energy or conventional methods? If it produces via conventional energy, then the manufacturing plant will face the same dilemma that other industries like the airport are seeing: power cuts.

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