The French aerospace company Dassault Aviation delivered two Falcon 7x luxury business jets to Egypt on December 12, according to information on the flight paths of the jets obtained by Mada Masr.
Previous reports indicated that the promised jets would join the official fleet used by the Egyptian presidency and senior officials.
French newspaper La Tribune first reported on the deal in August, revealing that it includes four aircraft of the same model, reportedly valued at around 300 million euros in total.
Egyptian authorities did not comment at the time, but local newspapers reported that anonymous officials denied the story. It is not clear, however, whether the sources denied the deal altogether or just the involvement of the presidency.
The Middle East Regional Monitoring Agency (MIDRMA) confirmed that the aircraft are currently in operation, under the purview of the Egyptian Air Force (EAF), and were registered as “SUBTU” and “SUBTV” on December 11, 2017.
Most of the aircraft in the Egyptian presidency’s fleet — around 20 aircraft, largely purchased during Hosni Mubarak’s presidency — are operated by the EAF.
Using Flightradar website, which tracks air traffic, Mada Masr observed the jets taking off from Bordeaux Airport in France on December 12 at 6.30 am and 6.42 am respectively, and their arrival at Almaza air base in Cairo, at 10.35 am and 10.40 am, the same morning.
Mada Masr also tracked the flight paths of the two planes inside Egyptian airspace last Thursday, December 21, as shown by the Flightradar24 flight tracker.
The SUBTV jet took off from Cairo airport, heading toward Matrouh governorate in Egypt’s north west, evading tracking near the city of Dabaa. The website did not show details of the airport where the plane landed. Two hours later, Flightradar24 showed the two planes traveling together in Matrouh airspace, but didn’t register the airport they took off from. SUBTV landed in Buraijat airspace in the Nile Delta’s Beheira governorate, while SUBTU continued to Almaza airport in Cairo.
The last trip registered for aircraft SUBTV was on Sunday morning. It left from Almaza Airport at 8.30 am, flying to a point near Dabaa on the Mediterranean Sea.
The three-engine business jets can travel up to 11,000 km before refuelling, and each carry 16 passengers, according to Dassault.
An Egyptian official, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity on Sunday, confirmed that the deal with Dassault had in fact been completed. He refused to reveal details of the method of payment for the jets, but mentioned “the generous Emirati support of the Egyptian government.”
An Egyptian diplomat following Egypt-France relations told Mada Masr in May that negotiations were ongoing regarding the four luxury aircraft, and that the visit of French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Cairo progressed the negotiations. Le Drian visited Egypt last February and met president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who honored him “for his efforts and contribution to a leap in military cooperation between the two countries.”
Egypt also signed a deal to purchase 24 Rafale fighter jets, manufactured by Dassault, from France in February 2015. These aircraft have been delivered over the last few years in installments.