Lonely Planet Writer

Egypt scraps Daylight Savings Time for the third time in a complicated history

Travellers are warned to expect delays as Daylight Savings Time in Egypt comes to an end for the third time in a century and just three days before it was due to kick in.

Sunset and camel silhouette in Egypt
Sunset and camel silhouette in Egypt. Image by Wim Koopman/500px

The clocks in Egypt were due to go an hour forward on 7 July, but this year will be different. Despite a minister confirming last week it would happen, parliament decided to finally act upon a 2015 presidential decree recommending Daylight Savings Time in Egypt be abolished after a poll showed the majority of Egyptians dislike the change.

The unexpected announcement has caused difficulty for some businesses in the country, but especially for the national airline EgyptAir. They have warned all passengers intending to travel over the next few days to arrive at the airport early and to prepare for delays and potentially missing connecting flights. In addition, the chairman of EgyptAir warned the airline may lose up to US$2 million as a result of the clocks not changing as planned.

The cityscape of Cairo at sunset from the Citadel and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali
The cityscape of Cairo at sunset from the Citadel and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali Image by Matt Champlin/Getty Images/Flickr RF

Daylight Savings Time in Egypt has a complicated history. It was initially introduced during World War II, but was abolished afterwards. The time change was implemented yet again as a power-saving measure in 1988, lasting until 2011. In 2014 the system was revived in response to another energy crisis.

Egypt is not the only country to play fast and loose with time zones. Russia set their time zone to ‘permanent winter’ time in 2014 and added a new time zone while they were at it. The British Caribbean territory of Turks & Caicos moved to Atlantic Standard Time in 2015 in an effort to get better sunsets, while shortly afterwards North Korea created an entirely new time zone called ‘Pyongyang time’.