British Airways (Reuters)
Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry called on Tuesday his British counterpart Boris Johnson to discuss the latest efforts being taken to resume direct flights between the touristic resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and the UK, a foreign affairs ministry statement read.
Since November 2015, flights from the UK and several other countries to Sharm El-Sheikh were suspended following the downing of a Russian airliner over central Sinai in October that year, killing all 224 people on board.
The airline's crash was a blow to Egypt's already ailing tourism industry. The number of tourists coming to Egypt dropped by 50 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
During the phone call, Shoukry referred to a letter he received from the UK, with the results of a British delegation’s inspection of Egyptian airports.
Shoukry said Egypt is keen on implementing the delegation’s recommendations, and he expressed his optimism that UK tourism to Sharm El-Sheikh will return soon.
The phone call also included both countries’ views on topics set to be discussed in the United Nation’s General Assembly next week, which will be attended by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson and Shoukry also discussed the current situation in Libya, and ongoing efforts to bridge the differences between different Libyan factions, the statement added.