Last updated: 6 October, 2011

Cairo airport traffic control calls off protest: MENA

Cairo airport traffic controllers have called off a protest that delayed and diverted dozens of flights, the official MENA news agency reported on Thursday.

Dozens of take-offs from Cairo airport were delayed on Thursday as air traffic controllers resumed a go-slow protest to demand higher wages, an airport official said.

Only 25 out of a scheduled 90 flights took off on time after the protest resumed, said Ahmed Hafez, an airport manager. He said 80 percent of passengers had cancelled their reservations.

MENA quoted Hasan Rashed, the head of Egypt Air Holding, as saying that the traffic controllers “agreed to end their strike after a meeting this evening.”

A meeting will be held with the controllers on Saturday to discuss their demands, he said.

The traffic controllers, who were delaying clearances for landings and takeoffs by 90 minutes, had said they would continue the protest until 1900 GMT unless their demands were met.

They suspended a five-hour protest late Wednesday that forced at least 16 international flights to divert to other airports and delayed 27 departures before resuming the slowdown on Thursday.

An estimated 16 million people travelled through the airport in 2010.

Egypt has seen a surge in labour unrest since a popular revolt ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February, although the military, which assumed power after his overthrow, has warned it would not tolerate crippling strikes.

The military widened a state of emergency in September to cover protests which disrupt the economy, but strikes and work protests have rumbled on.