KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will suspend flights to Cairo beginning in January as a result of Egypt’s foreign currency problems, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Egypt is facing an acute dollar shortage that has stifled the ability of some companies to repatriate earnings and transfer money abroad, with many waiting in lengthy queues for allocations from the country’s central bank and others resorting to an expensive black market for dollars that cuts into profits.
The country’s net foreign reserves stood at $16.564 billion at the end of August, less than half the roughly $36 billion held in 2011 before an uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, major sources of foreign currency. The bank has sought to preserve forex reserves for essential items such as food, fuel, medicines and manufacturing components.
This has hit companies such as Air France-KLM – the airline told Reuters in February it was unable to repatriate any earnings for months. British Airways has said it faced similar problems, though it has not suspended flights to Cairo.
KLM’s final flight from Cairo will depart 07 Jan 2017.