Thomas Cook cancels upcoming Sharm el Sheikh programme

Thomas Cook cancels upcoming Sharm el Sheikh programme

Thomas Cook today became the first operator to cancel winter 2017-18 and summer 2018 holidays to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

The operator is to run flights to the southern Egyptian Red Sea destination of Marsa Alam instead.

The government has banned flights from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh’s airport since 2015, after the suspected terrorist bombing of a Russian Metrojet charter aircraft.

Thomas Cook said: “We have removed Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt from our winter 2017-18 and summer 2018 holiday and flight programmes.

“The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office continue to advise against travel to Sharm el Sheikh airport, and we have no plans to reintroduce a programme to Sharm until after that advice changes.

“The five flights per week which we had scheduled this winter have now been cancelled. We are contacting those customers who have booked with us to offer a refund or a destination change free of charge.

“The resort of Hurghada on the Red Sea is popular with customers for this summer and the winter ahead.

“To keep up with demand, we’re pleased to announce that we will begin two flights per week to the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam from November this year.

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “Egypt has been very popular this year. We’re expecting more than double the number of UK customers compared with last year, over 150,000 bookings.

“We put on more flights for the winter season just gone and for this summer to keep up with demand.”

However, the decision to pull the winter and summer programmes from Sharm el Shiekh will put pressure on rival operations to follow suit.

The last update from Thomson came in March saying that all flights to the destination remain cancelled until September 30.

Monarch stopped taking bookings to Sharm el Sheikh last November “for the foreseeable future” despite efforts to improve security at the resort’s airport.

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