Australia eases 2015 ban on air cargo from Egypt

Amr Kandil , Monday 11 Apr 2022

Australia's Department of Home Affairs announced easing the ban imposed since late 2015 on air cargo from Egypt, the country's foreign ministry quoted Ambassador to Canberra Mahmoud Zayed as saying on Sunday.

File Photo: Qantas planes are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. Reuters

The decision allows the resumption of air shipments from Egypt to Australia through specific intermediate points, the ambassador said. The step is meant to boost trade and transport between the two countries.

In December 2015, the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development announced a ban on air cargo transported on passenger and freight aircraft from or through Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Bangladesh as a “security measure.”

The ban on Egypt and Bangladesh, however, excluded a number of objects, such as diplomatic bags, government articles, and small items.

In February, Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer was quoted by Bangladesh-based The Daily Star newspaper as saying that his country will lift the air cargo ban on Bangladesh.

“The restrictions are a preventive security measure based on the government’s understanding of the threat and risk environment in these countries,” Australia said in 2015.

It denied information suggesting the presence of any specific threat for flights to or from Australia, adding that the restrictions are in line with similar measures imposed by some international airlines and regulators worldwide.

The ban was imposed based on Australia’s Aviation Transport Security Act 2004, a regulatory framework to protect the country against unlawful interference with the civil aviation in the country and establish the minimum security requirements for civil aviation through imposing air cargo-related obligations.

The Australian ban came less than two months after a Russian plane crashed over Sinai in 2015 reportedly due to a bomb that was planted on the plane, leading Russia and the UK to suspend direct flights to Egypt before they were resumed years later.

Zayed hailed the Australian step, saying it was the result of the efforts made by the Egyptian ministries of foreign affairs and civil aviation in coordination with the relevant Australian authorities. 

Egypt and Australia share warm and long standing relations on the official and popular levels. According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, there are around 100,000 Australians of Egyptian descent living in Australia in addition to about 40,000 people living in Australia who were born in Egypt.

In 2019-2020, trade between the two countries totalled $560 million, making Egypt Australia's 51st largest trading partner during that period, the Australian foreign department said.

This included $49 million in imports from Egypt, represented in fruits, nuts, floor coverings, and construction materials. 

Australia’s exports to Egypt, which totalled $511 million, included vegetables, meat, wool, and wheat.


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