Embattled EgyptAir to offer a third of its fleet for lease

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EgyptAir is putting a third of its fleet, including its Boeing 777-300ERs, up for lease in a bid to counter the threat of losses arising from recent political upheaval.

The airline has a fleet of some 70 aircraft, including those of regional operator EgyptAir Express, but is facing a capacity crisis following the uprising which ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

EgyptAir is planning to offer around 25 aircraft to other carriers and operators, adding that they will be marketed along with a crew complement.

A spokesman for the carrier says that the "moving situation" in the country has forced the airline to adopt the radical strategy.

"No-one can predict what's going on," he says. "Tourism has been reduced by a great percentage. Now we don't have the amount of passengers [we'd normally expect]."

EgyptAir is offering the aircraft "in order to minimise costs", he adds, and providing pilots and other crew members will enable it to cut expenditure further. He says the carrier could lease up to 40% of its fleet.

Among the aircraft being offered are the carrier's 777-300ERs, the largest types operated by EgyptAir. It has four in service with another two still on order, due for delivery this year.

EgyptAir also has Airbus A330s, Boeing 777-200ERs and a range of smaller types including Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s and Embraer regional jets for its Express operation.