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Ailing EgyptAir offers to lease jets

Associated Press / February 21, 2011

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CAIRO — EgyptAir is offering to lease 25 of its newest aircraft to other carriers, a bid to offset staggering losses linked to the unrest that led more than 200,000 tourists to flee the country.

The company will also provide crews for the planes. EgyptAir has struggled since antigovernment protests began Jan. 25. It has canceled about 75 percent of its flights and seen little incoming traffic.

The chairman of EgyptAir Holding Co. said 40 percent of the fleet has been grounded. Hussein Massoud also said the company is losing about 80 percent of its projected revenue.

Tourism accounts for about 5 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product. Government figures showed that 210,000 tourists left the country in the last week of January, and cancellations for February were depriving Egypt of about $825 million in revenue.

Massoud said the carrier was looking at cutting working hours.