Shafiq served as aviation minister before he was named prime minister [Reuters]

Ahmed Shafiq, a close associate of President Hosni Mubarak, has been appointed as Egypt's prime minister in response to mass protests in Cairo and other cities.

Shafiq had been minister of civil aviation since 2002.

He served as commander of the Egyptian air force from 1996 to 2002, a post Mubarak himself held before he became vice-president of Egypt under former President Anwar Sadat.

His bid to run for Egypt's president after the revolution is being opposed by those who feel that remnants of Mubarak's regime should not be eligible for the office of the presidency.

As minister of civil aviation, Shafiq won a reputation for efficiency and administrative competence. He has supervised a successful modernisation programme at the state airline EgyptAir and improvements to the country's airports.

He was born in Cairo in 1941 and joined the air force at the age of 20.

He spent decades as a fighter pilot, and flew under Mubarak's command during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. It is claimed that Shafiq shot down two Israeli planes on October 14.

He holds a master's degree in military sciences and a PhD in the national strategy of outer-space.

Source: Agencies