Foreigners flocked to Cairo airport Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of Sunday’s nationwide protests against President Mohamed Morsi. According to the state-owned news agency Al-Ahram, the chairman of EgyptAir has said 60,000 passengers have left Egypt over the past two days on 254 flights.
This comes after the British, French and US embassies issued warnings to their citizens in Egypt, urging foreigners not to engage in any non-essential travel and to stay away from places where demonstrations are expected, such as the presidential palace and Tahrir square.
The Minister of Civil Aviation Wael Al-Ma’dawi announced in a statement on Sunday that the airport’s security apparatus “is ready to deal with any event at any time.”
Al-Ma’dawi also said all airport staff have been properly prepared to deal with any crisis, and the current events have yet to affect the flow of traffic at the airport, although EgyptAir has recommended passengers show up three hours early to their international flights, and 90 minutes prior to their domestic flights due to the high volume of passengers.
In anticipation of a potentially turbulent period, ATMs in downtown Cairo faced a large number of withdrawals and currency converters are reportedly suspending their services.
Aside from US embassy staffers and their families, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates diplomatic staff have also reportedly left the country, Al-Ahram reported.
The Red Sea director of security Hamdi El-Gazzar held a meeting with his deputies, the criminal investigation, and various other security agencies in the governorate. According to Al-Ahram, El-Gazzar announced a communications department had been set up to receive complaints from citizens, and strict measures have been taken to secure tourist facilities and ports.