File Photo: Tourists get their bags checked up as they leave Egypt after finishing their holidays, at the airport of the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, November 6, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
British MP Stephen Timms has urged Prime Minister Theresa May to review a ban on flights between the UK and Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh during her upcoming visit to the Red Sea resort city.
The lawmaker, who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Egypt, said the prime minister should examine the “dramatically tightened up” security measures at the city’s airport.
The UK was among a number of countries that banned direct flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, a popular winter destination for holidaymakers, in the wake of the downing of a Russian passenger jet in October 2015 which killed all 224 people on board.
Egypt has since boosted security procedures at many of its airports.
Germany, which also imposed a ban on flights to the resort city following the plane crash, lifted the restrictions in 2017.
“With other European countries having already lifted the bans that they had imposed, the view of the APPG is that it’s definitely high time to lift the UK flight ban,” Timms told the Press Association.
“I think the prime minster is well informed on the issue.”
“I’m sure there are others involved in taking the decision as well, but I think this probably is in the end something that’s on her desk to decide.”
May will visit Egypt on Sunday to attend a two-day EU-League of Arab States summit.
Egypt had previously expressed frustration over Britain’s continued suspension of flights, with the foreign ministry describing it as “unjustified” during a visit by British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in 2017.
“It’s done great damage to the Egyptian economy. It’s done damage to Britain’s standing in Egypt,” Timms said
“It’s quite hard to see now – given all the improvements that have taken place – what the justification for it still being there really is.”
Tourism is a key source of foreign currency and a main pillar of the Egyptian economy.