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British airlines delay resumption of Sharm el-Sheikh flights

AFP , Ahram Online , Thursday 24 Dec 2015
British airlines
British airlines (AFP)
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A string of British airlines have again delayed the resumption of regular flights to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh following a plane crash earlier this year.

The airlines first suspended flights after the crash of a Russian airliner near the Red Sea holiday destination on October 31 in which all 224 people on board died.

Russian Investigators have concluded it was downed by a bomb and ISIS has claimed responsibility.

However, Egypt has recently said while it does not rule out the possibility of a terror attack behind the downing of the Russian airliner, it cautioned that Cairo must conclude its official investigation before making any final determination.

On Tuesday, Egypt also announced it hired a UK-based consultancy firm, Control Risks, to review security arrangements at its airports starting in Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh. Egypt said this decision is not related to the crash of the Russian airliner over Sinai in October.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the attack had raised doubts about "the capability of the security on the ground" at the airport.

Extending previous announcements, Thomson and Thomas Cook say they are now cancelling all flights to the resort up to and including March 23.

Monarch and easyJet have pushed their resumption dates back to January 25 and February 29 respectively.

British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Sharm el Sheikh until February 13.

The Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential air travel to and from the resort.

Tourist numbers in Egypt have plunged in recent months. The sector is crucial to the country's economy, employing nearly one in nine workers.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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