Cairo International Airport
Serving over 13 million passengers in 2011, Cairo International Airport is the second busiest airport on the continent of Africa. The airport is located approximately 9 miles from the city’s central business district. With its location in the transition zone between Africa and Asia, Cairo International is the hub for several major airlines, and it is a stopover point for many flights into Africa.
History of the Airport
The current airport was originally built by United States’ forces for use as a military base during World War II. It was a major operation center in the Allied effort to free North Africa from the invading Axis enemy.
When the war ended, the base was handed over to the local authorities who turned the airfield into what is now Cairo International Airport in 1963.
A second terminal was built in 1986. Its original purpose was to serve as the arrival and departure point for foreign airline services. This terminal is currently out of operation as it is in the midst of a major refurbishing. It is not scheduled to be back in operation until at least 2015.
In 2004, construction began on Terminal 3. Construction was completed in 2008, but the terminal did not open to the general public until 2009. This terminal is much larger than the other terminals, and it is designed to have all of the modern services that airline passengers currently desire including many shopping and dining options.
The Seasonal Flight Terminal was opened in 2011. This terminal is used during the Muslim holy period of the Hajj to help handle the greatly increased passenger traffic to Saudi Arabia that occurs during this important time.
Cairo Airport Amenities
Cairo International currently operates three asphalt runways. The largest runway is 13,124 feet in length. The second longest runway comes in at 13,120 feet. The shortest runway is 10,830 feet in length.
Any person who is not an Egyptian citizen arriving at Cairo International is required to have both a valid passport and an entry visa issued by a qualified representative of the Egyptian government. When going through customs, passengers should use the Red line if they have more than the duty free allowance. All other passengers should use the Green line at customs.
Cairo International offers many services to its passengers including the use of several lounge facilities. The VIP Lounge is designed for special guests of the airport or the airlines that use the airport’s facilities. The English Lounge, Italian Lounge, and American Lounge each offer specialized menus from the guests country of origin. Each lounge is designed for passenger comfort with soft chairs and comfortable sofas. These lounges are located in Terminal 3.
Both Terminals 1 and 3 have free Wi-Fi access throughout the buildings. Public telephones are available throughout the airport. Prepaid cards must be purchased at the airport in order to use these telephones.
Cairo International also offers convenient service for those with medical needs. The Dr. Vivian Pharmacy is located in Terminal 1, and the El Ezaby Pharmacy is located in Terminal 3.
Parking at the Airport
The airport has several parking options for travelers. There are currently a total of 10 parking lots located near Terminal 1. Long-term, short-term and VIP parking with valet service are all available.