Pressure builds on UK to review Sharm el-Sheikh flight ban

Pressure builds on UK to review Sharm el-Sheikh flight ban

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Pressure is mounting on the UK to review its flight ban to Sharm el-Sheikh after Germany agreed that services could resume.

Russia is also reported to be considering restoring air links to the Red Sea resort and other parts of Egypt.

Commercial flights were suspended after a Russian Metrojet Airbus flying from the Red Sea resort’s airport to St Petersburg exploded shortly after takeoff in October, killing all 224 passengers and crew. Russian authorities said at the time that the crash was caused an an explosive device on board. 

Russian deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, was reported in March as saying he hoped air traffic could be restored by the summer holiday season on the condition that Egypt heighten security to an acceptable level. 

The German transport ministry removed a ban on checked luggage to Sharm el-Sheikh airport, Egypt’s foreign ministry announced yesterday.

However, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to advise against all but essential air travel to Sharm el-Sheikh pending the outcome of a full investigation into the downing of the aircraft.

Flights from the UK were suspended on November 4 last year.

The Egyptian ambassador to Germany, Badr Abdel Atty, was reported as saying that the move to resume flights came after inspections were carried out by German aviation experts on the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh to ensure that security standards were met.

“The decision came in implementation of the recommendation submitted by a German delegation of aviation experts that inspected security airport measures at Sharm el--Sheikh airport,” he was quoted as saying.

The ambassador added that the move reflected Egypt’s “compliance to international airport security standards,” adding that it “highlights that Germany is keen to push forward co-operation on airport security and open the door to the recovery of the tourism sector in Sharm el-Sheikh and Egyptian tourism generally.” 

Egypt tourism minister, Yehia Rashed, said: “This is wonderful news for German tourists and for Egyptian tourism.

“This will enable even more German tourists to visit our country and will be very welcome news for Sharm el-Sheikh.

“We are delighted to welcome back large numbers of German tourists to Sharm el-Sheikh to enjoy our wonderful weather, superb resorts and beautiful beaches.

“I very much look forward to other countries following Germany’s lead.”

British Airways flights remain cancelled with the airline saying that information on the potential re-starting service to Sharm el-Sheikh in mid-September will appear on its website “as we receive more details from the British and Egyptian authorities”.

EasyJet said in March: “We remain committed to resuming services to Sharm after the government allows UK airlines to do so and hope to resume services from the beginning of the winter season in October 2016.”   

Travel to Sharm el-Sheikh with Tui operators Thomson and First Choice remains suspended until September 28, with Monarch until October 30 and Thomas Cook until October 31, pending any change to the FCO’s travel advice.


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