EgyptAir is aiming to restore normal operations by the end of the summer season, as it strives to address a capacity crisis following the political upheaval in the state.

The airline is also attempting to play down the significance of its plans to lease as much as a third of its aircraft fleet, as it restructures its timetable for summer 2011.

EgyptAir, which has been adjusting its flights for the remainder of the winter season to 26 March, says its summer schedule will contain "a limited modification".

"The revised schedule will feature a gradual growth in volume of operations over the summer season reaching normal volume towards the end of the season," it says.

Tourism to Egypt was badly hit during the three weeks of protests which led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak last month, and EgyptAir says it has been cutting its capacity to match demand.

But EgyptAir appears to be trying to play down the publicity over its proposal to lease some 25 aircraft from its fleet, including its new Boeing 777-300ERs.

EgyptAir holding company chairman Hussein Massoud says the airline is concentrating on using its fleet to evacuate nationals from other troubled parts of the Arab region, notably Libya.

He states that the proposal was contained in "an internal communication" with EgyptAir staff which "was addressing possible measures to alleviate the impact of the drop in passenger traffic during the peak of the crisis" by offering short-term wet-lease of excess capacity.

Hussein says the airline is pursuing the study as a "contingency" and it has not determined the extent to which it may need to pursue the lease proposal.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news