EgyptAir Express (MSE, Cairo Int'l) is planning to leverage the improved range and performance of its incoming fleet of A220-300s to open a base in Sharm el Sheikh, its third in Egypt behind Cairo Int'l and Alexandria Borg el Arab.

The EgyptAir Holding unit has twelve of the CSeries jets on firm order from Bombardier (BBA, Montréal Trudeau) with options for a further dozen. Delivery of the firm order jets will run from late 2018 to 2020 while the purchase rights, if exercised, would be for delivery between 2020 and 2026. The aircraft will collectively replace Express's existing fleet of twelve E170s which are due to be disposed of over the course of 2018/19.

In an interview with Arabian Aerospace, Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Helmy Rizk said the 120-seater CS300s would allow Express to extend its operating range to cover a variety of new, previously inaccessible, markets such as Southern Europe as well as Casablanca Int'l in (North) Africa and Mumbai Int'l, India, where payload penalties have previously inhibited the launch of flights.

It is here that the Sharm el-Sheikh base would really come into play given the CSeries ability to reach cities in Italy and Germany non-stop.

“This will give us a very big competitive advantage,” he said. “We can serve our domestic routes and other destinations with lower costs.”

Currently, the proportion of EgyptAir Express's international/domestic flights is skewed 25/75. However, the arrival of the CS300s is expected to tip the balance in favour of more international services, the CEO said.