Germany in talks with Egypt to resume Sharm El-Sheikh flights

Ahram Online , Wednesday 13 Apr 2016

Sharm el-Sheikh Airport
Tourists pass through an X-ray machine at the airport in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on November 5, 2015 (AFP)

Egypt and Germany are in talks to ease restrictions on flights between Sharm El-Sheikh and German airports, which could see the return of direct flights from Germany to the Sinai resort town. 

A number of European airlines and governments introduced restrictions on flights to Sharm El-Sheikh after a Russian passenger jet crashed in Sinai in October 2015, killing 224 people, most holidaymakers.

German airlines banned check-in luggage on flights from the city's airport, and direct flights from German airports subsequently stopped.

But Germany is now "negotiating with the Egyptian government to alleviate constraints on air traffic from and to Sharm El-Sheikh," Magdy El-Sayed, the head of the German embassy's press department, told Ahram Online Wednesday.

He said that talks come after German air travel safety inspectors conducted multi-day examinations last month at airports in the Red Sea towns of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam to check additional security measures taken following last October's tragedy.

"Following the evaluation, the German government expressed readiness to modify ongoing restrictions on flights from Sharm El-Sheikh," El-Sayed said.

This includes allowing joint transportation of passengers and luggage from Sharm El-Sheikh to German airports "provided that the Egyptian government meets certain conditions," he said.

German authorities are in talks with their Egyptian counterpart to clarify such requirements. The Germans have also offered to assist Egypt in improving security at its airports.

The Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the October crash, saying it had smuggled a bomb on board.

Following the crash, the British government halted direct flights between Sharm El-Sheikh Airport, from which the passenger jet had departed, and British airports. It has since deployed expert teams to assess security practices at Egyptian airports, but flights to Sinai have yet to be resumed.

Egyptian tourism, a pillar of the economy and a key source of hard currency, has taken a blow since the plane crash, with Sharm El-Sheikh believed to be the biggest sufferer.

Short link: