Sharm El Sheikh International Airport
|Sharm El Sheikh
مطار شرم الشيخ الدولي
|Airport type||Public (former Military)|
|Serves||Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||143 ft / 44 m|
Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (Arabic: مطار شرم الشيخ الدولي Maṭār Sharm El Sheikh El Dawli) (IATA: SSH, ICAO: HESH) is an international airport located in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. It is the third-busiest airport in Egypt after Cairo International Airport and Hurghada International Airport.
The airport was opened on May 14, 1968 as an Israeli Air Force base. After the signing of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979 and Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, it was reopened as a civilian airport.
In 2008 the Egyptian Airports Holding Company (EAHC) announced plans to build a third terminal at the airport. The company expects to receive design offers before the end of September 2008. EAHC Director Ibrahim Mannaa said that it is a move to meet the sizeable increase in passengers numbers at the airport, which exceeded 28% during the first eight months of 2008.
The largest regular aircraft operating into the airport was the Boeing 747-400 by Transaero Airlines (from Moscow); Transaero ceased operations in October 2015. British Airways operated the only regular scheduled Boeing 777-200ER service (from Gatwick Airport); this has now ceased due to concerns in the aftermath of Metrojet Flight 9268.
In 2008, the Egyptian Airports Holding Company announced plans to build a third new terminal at the airport. In July 2009 the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN) signed a contract with Spanish construction designers Pointec for the third terminal. The terminal was planned to double the airport's capacity from 7.5 to 15 million passengers per year. The project's primary costs were estimated at $350 million. The design phase was due to be completed by early 2010. International contractors then were invited for an open tender to construct the terminal which was scheduled to be completely constructed by 2015. However, as of September 2016 construction has not commenced yet.
On 23 May 2007, the airport's second terminal was inaugurated with a capacity for 5 million passengers per year. The two-level, 43,000-square-metre (460,000 sq ft) terminal features 40 check-in counters and is designed to cater to a large number of international and chartered flights. It has two domestic and six international gates, all of which exit to remote stands. The terminal comprises three building components: two circular-shaped halls fused together by a wedge-shaped intermediate space dubbed 'the boat'. 'The boat' serves as a passenger transit hub housing passport control, duty-free, and VIP areas as well as cafes/restaurants. The halls, in stark textural contrast to the solid mass of 'the boat', feature airy, billowing tent-like roofs inspired by the indigenous Bedouin culture.
Although known as 'Terminal 2' this is actually the airport's original terminal building. The building underwent a complete modernisation programme in 2004 and has a passenger handling capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year. Since the auguration of Terminal 1 in 2007 most airlines have shifted operations to the new building.
In December 2016 Egyptian Airports Company announced plans to extend Terminal 2. EAC plans to expand Terminal 2 and increase its capacity by two million passengers per year, thus taking the total capacity of the airport to 9.5 million. This also includes the construction of a new runway and 40 new airsides.
Airlines and destinations
Accidents and incidents
- On January 3, 2004, Flash Airlines Flight 604, en route to Cairo and then Paris as its final destination, crashed in the Red Sea shortly after taking off from Sharm El Sheikh, killing all 148 people on board. Causes for the accident include pilot error and instrument failure, but investigators have been unable to reach a consensus.
- On August 23, 2015, Thomson Airways Flight 476, approaching Sharm El Sheikh at the end of a flight from London Stansted Airport with 189 passengers aboard, took evasive action to avoid a missile traveling toward it; the missile missed the airliner by about 1,000 feet (300 meters), and the plane landed safely. An investigation concluded that the missile was an Egyptian armed forces missile that had strayed from a military exercise.
- On October 31, 2015, Metrojet Flight 9268, en route from Sharm El Sheikh to St. Petersburg, Russia, crashed in the Sinai Peninsula between Nekhel and Housna, killing all 224 people on board, most of them Russian tourists. The jihadist group ISIL, at war with Russian forces in nearby Syria, quickly claimed responsibility for the crash, which was believed by western governments to be the result of a terrorist bombing. Russian investigators confirmed the flight was bombed in mid-November; the investigation is still ongoing. Following these events, many countries ordered all flights to Sharm El Sheikh suspended until further notice. The security at Sharm El Sheikh is currently considered dangerously lax. Airport staff have been seen taking cash from passengers to let weapons and drugs through or to let passengers skip queues despite the bomb threat.
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Media related to Sharm El Sheikh International Airport at Wikimedia Commons