Al-Batouti was married and had five children. The youngest, Aya, who was ten at the time of the crash, suffered from lupus, and was undergoing medical treatment in Los Angeles. Efforts had been made at EgyptAir, both at a company level and at an employee level to provide assistance to help defray the medical expenses.
Al-Batouti was approaching retirement (aviation regulations prevented him from flying as a commercial airline pilot after age 60), and had planned to split his time between a 10-bedroom villa outside of Cairo and a beach house near El Alamin.
Batouti hired on with EgyptAir on September 8, 1987. He held type ratings for the Boeing 737-200, Boeing 767-200 and the 767-300. At the time of the crash, he had logged 12,538 hours of flight time, with 5,755 as pilot in command and 5,191 in the 767.
At the time of his death, Al-Batouti was the most senior first officer (F/O) flying the 767 at EgyptAir. He was not promoted to captain because he declined to sit for the exam for his Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) rating. The ATPL study materials and exam are conducted in English (the international language of aviation), and Al-Batouti did not have sufficient English proficiency. Once he reached 55, the possibility of promotion was further hindered by EgyptAir policy which prevented promotions after that age. According to statements made by his colleagues to the NTSB during the Flight 990 investigation, he did not want to be promoted, because as senior F/O, he could get his preferred flight schedules, which assisted in his family situation. Despite not being promoted to captain, he was often referred to by that title because of his previous experience at the Egypt Air Institute.
Some investigators learned that he was supposedly reprimanded for inappropriate behavior with female guests at the Hotel Pennsylvania, a New York City hotel often used by EgyptAir crews. Hatem Roushdy, an EgyptAir official said to be responsible for the alleged reprimand was a passenger on Flight 990. The details of the reprimand included the removal of Gameel Al-Batouti's privilege of flying any flight to the United States, and that Flight 990 would be his last.
There was western media speculation that Batouti may have been a terrorist; his family and friends indicated that he had no strong political beliefs.
The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority disputes the cause of the crash, blaming technical problems, rather than any action of Al-Batouti.