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Some UK airlines’ flights to Egypt on repatriation missions have been cancelled or diverted by the Egyptian authorities due to a ‘lack of slots’.
Only one of Thomas Cook’s four planned return flights will be allowed to land in Sharm el-Sheikh, while Monarch’s fifth planned flight has been diverted to Larnaca.
It is understood that a Thomas Cook flight from Manchester turned around over Corfu, while a flight from Gatwick was diverted to Heraklion. It is also understood that Thomson flights from Manchester and Birmingham were diverted to Paphos.
Two of Monarch’s flights have now left for Birmingham and Gatwick, and two which were also due to operate today will be night-stopped at Sharm El Sheikh.
Monarch said in a statement it understands it will be permitted by the authorities to allow two aircraft to depart today back to the UK.
Monarch flights ZB097 will operate to London Gatwick and ZB475 to Birmingham airport.
“Monarch is working continuously with the Department of Transport and the Egyptian authorities to get customers back to the UK as quickly as possible,” said the airline in a statement.
Thomas Cook said in a statement: “The local authorities have advised that there is a limited amount of departure slots available today.”
The flight permitted to land is MT5816/7 to Birmingham and on to Nottingham, scheduled to depart Egypt at 17.35.
Thomas Cook said customers will be permitted hand baggage only on the flight, with any large luggage items ‘securely stored at the airport until they can be safely returned to the UK’.
Customers will be entitled to two pieces of cabin baggage.
The Thomas Cook statement continued: “The three remaining flights due to operate today will no longer do so.
“Once slots are made available to Thomas Cook Airlines, they will depart for Sharm el-Sheikh to bring our customers home.
“We can confirm that we are making arrangements for any customers due to return on these flights to remain in their accommodation free of charge.
“Our team in destination are dedicated to ensuring that all customers are as comfortable as possible until such a time as they fly home, and we remain dedicated to offering them all the assistance they might need throughout this time.”
Thomson is yet to provide a statement.
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