Egypt presidency buys new plane for $500m, triggers controversy

The Egyptian president has purchased a new presidential jumbo jet at the cost of $500 million, triggering fierce debate on social media over the timing of the purchase, which comes amidst a severe economic crisis.

Egypt has been struggling to generate foreign currency for imports and to tackle inflation, which has been hitting the country hard for years.

Egypt has acquired a Boeing 747-8 aircraft, seen last week in Shannon in Ireland, where it was undergoing painting work by International Aerospace Coatings (IAC).

In 2020, Simple Flying, an aviation news website, reported that German airliner Lufthansa sold one of its Boeing 747-8 passenger planes to an “unidentified customer”.

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The website revealed that the 747-8 jet would become an Egyptian executive aircraft, taking SU-GGG registration.

Egyptian media reported the deal to buy the Boeing 747-8 aircraft at almost $500 million, while the Egyptian presidency counter-stated that it does not need such a plane.

Egyptian journalist and MP Mustafa Al-Bakri condemned the reports about the purchase as “propaganda” of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He claimed that the aircraft was bought for no more than $240 million, noting that this came following a report by Boeing that the current 28-year-old presidential Airbus A340 would be unfit for use by 2023.

Egyptian expert of Constitutional Law Nour Farahat said that Egyptians would accept the narrative of Al-Bakri should he prove his claims by providing the public with a report from Boeing about the expiry of the presidential plane, as well as details about the purchase of the new one.

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