Airlines serving the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh are looking to re-route flights around Egypt’s Sinai peninsula as it emerged that a Russian aircraft broke up in mid-air over the desert region.
A total of 224 people died when the Airbus A321 crashed 23 minutes after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday.
Most passengers were families from the St Petersburg region heading home after a winter sun break.
The aircraft climbed to 31,000ft in the first 21 minutes before suddenly descending 5,000ft and then disappearing from radar screens.
Victor Sorochenko, the head of Russia’s interstate aviation committee, said it was too early to say why the aircraft had broken up, though experts suggested a mechanical problem was likelier than a terrorist attack.
It emerged that the co-pilot had expressed concerns about its airworthiness hours before take-off.
“He complained that the technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired,” Natalya Trukhacheva, the ex-wife of the co-pilot Sergei Trukhachev told Russian state media.
EasyJet said it would “actively review” flight paths over Egypt.
The budget airline said that it would continue to serve Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada but holidaymakers who no longer wanted to take the Egypt flight would be given an alternative.
Thomas Cook, Emirates, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM said they had stopped flying over the area since the disaster.
British Airways said it had no plans to alter its flights to Egypt but refused to comment on the exact route, the Times reported.
The Department for Transport reportedly issued a “notice to airmen” in early September warning them of the “potential risk to aviation overflying this area”.
Airlines were told not to fly at lower than 25,000 feet because of the threat of “dedicated anti-aviation weaponry”.
The doomed Airbus A321 was operated by Kogalymavia, also known as Metrojet.
The Russian government issued a statement yesterday rejecting as “fabrications” claims by Isis militants that they had brought down the aircraft in revenge for Russian military intervention in Syria.
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