O'Connell, J. and Warnock-Smith, David (2012) Liberalisation and strategic change in air transport: An examination of current and future variations in tourist traffic to and from Egypt resulting from policy changes at EgyptAir. Journal of Tourism Economics, 18 (4). pp. 845-870. ISSN 1354-8166

The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of recent changes in EgyptAir’s corporate strategy on its role and significance to the Egyptian Tourism sector. In-depth open interviews with top level personnel were combined with a before-after time-series analysis of key market data in order to identify any early effects of EgyptAir’s strategic changes on important international markets for inbound and outbound tourism. The study’s major finding was that EgyptAir has taken some major steps to target higher yielding tourist passengers travelling from Egypt to Europe, Asia and North America and vice versa by fortifying its position at Cairo, improving its overall service offering and joining the world’s largest strategic airline alliance (Star Alliance). Some early gains have been noted in these markets for EgyptAir while at the same time an avoidance strategy has been noted in relation to lower yield package holidaymakers, who despite forming a growing share of total demand, are already served by a highly competitive mix of foreign charter and scheduled airlines. Tourist numbers were found to increase post strategic change at EgyptAir. This increase was either facilitated directly by EgyptAir or indirectly as other carriers took advantage of the additional opportunities to serve markets that were previously dominated or neglected by EgyptAir prior to its air policy induced change of strategic direction. The general push towards liberalisation in the wider Middle-East region also partly led to these strategic changes.

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