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EgyptAir resumes Luxor-London flights after one-year suspension

Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Oct 2016
Luxor
File Photo: Tourists are seen at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's flagship airline EgyptAir is set to resume Luxor-London trips starting Monday following a one-year suspension of flights between the two destinations, a statement by the airline read on Sunday.

EgyptAir's chairman Safwat Mosalam said that the first flight – a Boeing 737-800 that accommodates 144 passengers – is set to take off from Luxor to London on Monday at 10am Cairo local time.

Mosalam said that the resumption of flights to Luxor aims "to revive tourism in the city, which is considered one of the most important touristic destinations in Upper Egypt in the frame of the company's commitment to the return of tourism to Egypt, one of the crucial sources for national income."

Egypt's tourism industry has been hit hard since the 2015 Russian airliner crash in Sinai that killed all 224 people on board.

The crash led Russia to suspend all flights to Egypt, and several European countries, including the UK, suspended their flights to the popular Sinai resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, all over security concerns.

Since the crash, Cairo has worked to improve airport security in an effort to regain the confidence of foreign governments.

Last June, Egypt-based National Falcon Company for Airport Security signed an agreement with British company Restrata for Consulting and Training where the British company would train 7,000 Falcon personnel to secure Egyptian airports.

In the past months, British inspection teams have visited Egyptian airports several times to review security measures.

Last month, Turkey resumed flights to Sharm El-Sheikh following 10 months of suspension, while Poland resumed flights to the resort city in early August and Germany eased restrictions on flights to and from Sharm El-Sheikh in May.

Russia, which is currently negotiating airport security measures with Cairo, has not yet set a date for the resumption of flights to Egypt.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped by 50 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year, according to Egypt's Tourism Authority. Tourism revenues during that period witnessed a drop of 60 percent compared to 2015.

Egypt has been seeking billions of dollars in loans to address a severe hard currency shortage.

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