Article written by Zakhir Mohamad a.k.a Big Dog, copied from HERE.
The riot to pressure Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign and leave in Cairo has now dwindled into a situation much horrified. It is a lawless scenario where rampant rioting and looting spiraled into total blackout of communications and curfew imposed. Phone lines and internet have now become non existence.
Amongst those affected are 14,000 Malaysians, mostly students which numbered 11,000. Majority of them are Federal Government sponsored students, specifically MARA.
Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak instructed that Wisma Putra co-ordinate trapped Malaysians to be evacuated from Egypt. First to be deployed is RMAF C-130H transporters from No. 20 squadron based in TUDM Subang. RMN frigates serving operations in the Indian Ocean for piracy patrol were also deployed to provide support for ferrying the trapped Malaysians via sea.
Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia joined Wisma Putra’s co-ordinate ‘Operation Pyramid’ in the evacuation. Malaysia Airlines committed 2 B747-400s whilst AirAsia committed an A330-200 for the operation. Despite facing diplomatic bureaucracy and landings rights for the Government initiated evacutaion, first Malaysians were successfully evacuated from Cairo landed in Jeddah earlier today.
These aircrafts supposed to fly at least 9 flights between Cairo and Alexandria to Jeddah. The B747-400s are designed to carry 400 passengers where else the A330 is supposed to carry 290 passengers and the C-130Hs are abled to carry 200 passengers per flight. That means that maximum, only 1690 passengers are able to be evacuated any givenr day from Cairo or any destination to Jeddah (the transit point for the operations before being flown back to Malaysia).
Realistically, that is a nine day operations. To ferry the aircraft to and from Kuala Lumpur to Cairo via Jeddah, roughly 460-500.000 litres of aviation Jet A1 is required per day. That makes a sum of 4.25 million litres of highly flammable kerosene fuel. At international cost of RM 3.20 per litre, that is RM 14 million in just fuel bill alone. That does not include 18 pilots, 9 license aircraft maintenance engineers and 42-45 cabin crews required daily.
Other cost include ferrying relieve/relay crew, landing and parking operations, the temporary lodging and food for Malaysians in Jedda (currently, housed at Tabung Haji’s transit facility near the King Abdul Aziz Airport) and cost to co-ordinate the operation. Reinstatement of communications within Eqypt and Eqypt to the outside world would termendously improve the situation.
‘Ops Pyramid’ is a serious effort. Malaysians should not complain this herculean effort. Especially when ‘earth is literally moved’ to get these trapped Malaysians out.