Air Force commander announces air taxi service

Commander of the Egyptian Air Force Younis al-Masry announced that preparations are underway for launching the “Air Taxi” project in coordination with the Ministry of Aviation, local media reported.

In a celebration commemorating Air Force Day, Masry said in his address that the service is meant to save time and will use helicopters and light transport aircrafts, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.

He added that the service will be introduced to the Delta governorates first, affirming that it will not interfere with the Air Force’s duties.

In his address, Masry also announced that the Air Force sealed the Apache deal with the US, saying that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s recent visit to the US helped speed up the process.

An Apache delivery to Egypt has been delayed following the violent dispersal of pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in August 2013. Last April, the Pentagon announced that it would relax its hold on military aid to Egypt, imposed since the dispersal, and deliver 10 Apache helicopters and US$650 million in aid to the Egyptian military. 

During his visit to Egypt last June, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that 10 Apache helicopters would be delivered “very soon.”

Masry said that the Air Force is keen on “diversifying the sources of arms,” denying that Egypt receives arms exclusively from the US. He added it the Air Force is currently looking into offers from several countries, including Russia, France and China.

He also said that the Air Force is involved in combating terrorism but only on a small level, maintaining that the Interior Ministry forces are more than capable of eliminating terrorism.

The Egyptian Air Force Day falls on October 14, commemorating the air battle of Mansoura in the 1973 war between the Israeli and Egyptian air forces. 

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