Cairo International Airport history started in the forties of the last century when the American Bayn Field air-force base was established five kilometers far from Almaza Airport to serve the Alliance during the Second World War. The American forces left the base by the end of the war.
In 1945, the Civil Aviation Authority took over the base and allocated it to the International Civil Aviation. The Airport was called "King Farouk 1st Airport". In the meantime, Almaza Airport was dedicated to the domestic flights.
It is worth mentioning that the Air Traffic Movement during that period, particularly in 1946, was 200.000 passengers a year. The peak hour capacity of the Airport reached 200 passengers per hour.
In 1955, some studies were done to build a new terminal with a higher capacity; the location of the new terminal was chosen between the two runways, east of Cairo. The works of construction started in 1957 and has been inaugurated on 18th of March 1963.
In 1963, Cairo International Airport replaced the old Heliopolis Airport located at the Hike-Step area in the East of Cairo. It consisted of arrival and departure halls, a transit hall and two runways with a capacity of five million passengers a year.
As air transport rates went up to 55 % in the seventies, a second hall was constructed in 1977-79 and a third added in 1980.
In the Eighties, air transport rates increased again and a second terminal became a necessity. Terminal Building 2 with its two arrival and departure halls, a transit hall and a runway, was constructed to serve 3.5 million passengers per year.
With the increase in Air Traffic Movement and the demand for international service standards, there was a need for developing the airport's facilities . As a result, Cairo Airport Company started a major renovation and development plan on the transit hall in Terminal 1. It is scheduled to finish by the end of 2003 with a cost of US $ 12, 000,000. The consultant designer company for the project is ECG "Engineering Consultants Groups" S.A. Cairo, Egypt.
The proposed building consists of a ground floor, first floor and a mezzanine. The scope of work has been divided into three phases. The 1st phase was the renovation of the ground floor and has been completed in March 2002 and during the implementation of this work the airport processed normal operations. The ground floor contains the main access doors, bar, cafeteria, main duty free shops, boutiques, and transit/ transfer facilities.
The second phase, started during June 2003, as a development of the upper floor, which includes lounges, cafes and the car parking area. First and business class lounges will be located in the mezzanine floor. For economical class, travelers will pay lounges, each lounge reveals a different theme; Italian, British, American, French and Arabic. In addition, there will be luxurious VIP lounge to suit all tastes.
The third phase, which is due to be completed by the end of 2003, will include the completion of a 1960's cafe overlooking the runway as well as duty free shops.