Belgian Jetairfly to resume flights to Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh starting Sunday

Dalia Farouq , Ahram Online , Wednesday 26 Oct 2016

A decision by Brussels in May to lift a flight ban of Sharm El-Sheikh has paved the way for the airliner to return, the latest of European airlines

File Photo: TUI's Belgian Jetairfly aircraft (Photo: AFP)

Belgian Jetairfly will resume flights to Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh starting on Sunday following a one-year suspension, Egypt’s tourism ministry announced on Wednesday.

The ministry described the decision by Brussels as one that “reflects the Belgian government’s trust in all security procedures undertaken by the Egyptian authorities to secure all tourist outlets and Egyptian airports.”

Belgium’s Jetairfly are set to operate two flights per week on Sundays and Tuesdays to and from the Egyptian resort during the winter season.

The Belgian airliner, one of the six proprietary airlines in the German-based TUI Group, is the latest among European airlines to announce a resumption of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh.

The decision comes following a decision by Brussels in May 2016 to lift a flight ban to Sharm El-Sheikh imposed since November 2015.

Other TUI group airlines have not yet been given the green light for the resumption of flights to the resort in South Sinai.

TUI Group’s Thomsan Airways and First Choice confirmed the cancellation of all flights up to and until 8 February, 2017 as “the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el-Sheikh.”

Egypt's tourism industry has been hit hard since the October 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, to suspend their flights to the popular Sinai resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, all citing security concerns.

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

In September, Turkish Airlines 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 the resort 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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