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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

UK flight ban to Sharm El-Sheikh is 'mind-boggling': Egyptian ambassador

The UK, along with a number of other countries, suspended passenger flights to Sharm El-Sheikh due to security concerns following the deadly crash of a Russian jet last year

Ahram Online , Saturday 19 Nov 2016
Sharm El-Sheikh
File photo: tourists perform their exercises on the sandy beach, at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt Dec. 6, 2010 (Photo: AP)
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Egypt's ambassador to the UK said that it is "mind-boggling" that the UK has not lifted its flight ban to Sharm El-Sheikh even after all British ministries had recommended that flights to the Egyptian resort resume.

“When I talked to the Department of Transport or even the home office or foreign office, they are all for the resumption [of flights],” Nasser Kamel told BBC Radio 4 on Friday. “I think the decision is stuck somewhere higher.”

The UK, along with a number of other countries, suspended passenger flights to Sharm El-Sheikh due to security concerns following the deadly crash of a Russian jet minutes after taking off from the airport at the Sinai resort city on 31 October 2015.

Kamel said that all EU countries have resumed flights to the Egyptian resort except the UK.

“A whole set of countries, including Germany, who have done their own independent assessment have decided to resume flights based on the fact that Sharm El-Shiekh now is not only safe, but is being seen as an example of an airport that has improved in a very short time and become one of the leading airports in the world in terms of security,” Kamel said.

Following the plane crash and the flight ban, Egypt “had an agreement with the British government to implement a joint action programme under the promise that if the programme is implemented fully in three or four months, flights will resume,” said the ambassador, adding that “Egypt has done its share.”

He also said that both UK Department of Transport security experts and independent British security consultants have hailed the airport security measures implemented by Egypt.

Last week, the tourism campaign "This is Egypt" was launched in the UK with Billboards displaying promotional materials and Egypt's participation in the World Trade Market, the leading international event for the travel industry.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped by 41 percent in September 2016 compared to the same month last year, registering 473,000 visitors, according to the latest figures announced by the state's official statistics body CAPMAS.

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