Last Tuesday, Egyptian actress Hannah El Zahed shared a picture of herself sitting next to a pilot in an aeroplane cockpit. The photo immediately garnered the attention of Egyptian media outlets, stirring a lot of controversy among the people. The image was supposedly taken during a trip to Zanzibar in Tanzania with her husband, actor Ahmed Fahmy. Because it is illegal (in Egypt) for a passenger to be in a plane’s cockpit, the photo caused concern within the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation held a press release when Bassem Samy Abdelkarim, Assistant Minister of Civil Aviation for International, Commercial, and Media Affairs, stated that, while the actress was indeed sitting in the co-pilot’s place, the plane was not Egyptian and the flight had taken place outside Egyptian airspace, meaning the case was no longer in the scope of Egyptian authority. According to Egypt Independent, Abdelkarim stated, “We have contacted actor Ahmed Fahmy, Hannah al-Zahed’s husband, who stated that this flight was aboard a helicopter outside the Arab Republic of Egypt on the Zanzibar itinerary to the Serengeti in Tanzania, and therefore this incident does not fall within the scope of the Civil Aviation Authority.”
Moreover, El Zahed herself spoke up about the matter through her Instagram stories, stating that she was only a tourist taking photos beside the pilot, which is not illegal in Tanzania.
Many people have been urging the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take action regarding the matter, including presenter Ahmed Moussa. Moussa published a post on his Facebook, calling for action to be brought against the aircraft’s pilot and relating this to the recent incident with actor Mohamed Ramadan and pilot Ashraf Abu El Yosr who was suspended and recently passed away.
So far, the Ministry has been sticking to the notion that, since the plane was not Egyptian, there is not much they can do about the matter.