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Friday, 26 May 2017

Thomas Cook cancels planned bookings to Egypt's Sharm until UK travel advice changes

Ahram Online , Thursday 11 May 2017
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UK travel company Thomas Cook has removed Sharm El-Sheikh from their upcoming winter 2017-2018 and summer 2018 holiday and flight programmes, saying they will not reinstate them until the UK government’s advice not to travel to Sharm airport is lifted.

"The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office continue to advise against travel to Sharm El-Sheikh airport, and we have no plans to reintroduce a programme to Sharm until after that advice changes," an update published on the company’s website on Sunday read.

In the update, the company said that the five weekly flights scheduled for the winter 2017/2018 period have been cancelled, adding that they were currently contacting customers who had booked the flights or packages and will be offering them a refund.

The British government warns citizens against any travel to Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport.

Following a deadly plane crash in Sinai in October 2015, which killed all those aboard the Russian passenger jet which had taken off from the city’s airport, a number of countries suspended their direct flights to the airport.

Most of those countries, including Belgium, Germany, Poland and Turkey, have since lifted their bans and resumed flights. Flights between Russia and Egypt remain suspended.

Since the suspension, Thomas Cook has continued to put up for sale flights and holiday packages to Sharm at a future date, only to subsequently cancel them as the government’s advice remained unchanged.

On Sunday, the travel operator said it would not begin selling flights and holidays to the resort again until the advice was changed.

The operator is however going to offer two weekly flights to the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam from November.

Last week, a source at the tourism ministry told Ahram Online that Britons came in third in the list of tourists visiting Egypt in the first three months of 2017 at 74,000 visitors, a 16 percent rise compared to the same period last year.

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