Pilots have being staging a sit-in in front of the Civil Aviation Syndicate headquarters since Tuesday, calling for the appointment of a non-military, technocratic minister of civil aviation who is unaffiliated with the former regime.
The current Minister of Civil Aviation Hussein Massoud is a former officer in the air force and the current chairman and chief executive officer of Egypt Air. Egypt Air has denied there is any kind of sit-in taking place.
Mohamad Darwish, the secretary general of the syndicate, said the sit-in is comprised of numerous Egyptian pilots from various Egyptian airlines around the country, and they plan on keeping up their pressure until their demands are met.
Darwish, who is also a pilot himself, said the pilots involved in the sit-in do so under working hours, “but whenever they have to fly they go and rejoin the sit-in when they get back,” making an important distinction with a strike.
The number of people partaking in the protest fluctuates between 150 to 200 people, as pilots come and go for work. Darwish stressed that their demands were not just about having a non-military person serving as the head of the civil aviation ministry, but that the appointee must be a technocrat and cannot have any connections with the old regime.
“We will escalate our actions if they choose someone who does not meet our demands,” Darwish said.
If their demands are not met, they will “have an emergency meeting to decide what kind of action to take.”
The official government stance on the issue is that it is necessary to have military personnel occupy the civil aviation ministry post because airports are used as part of emergency plans during times of war.