German airline cancels flights to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh

AFP , Monday 14 Apr 2014

Sharm el-Sheikh
File Photo: Tourists sunbathe and stand in the shallow waters at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 (Photo: AP)

Germany's second-biggest airline, Air Berlin, on Monday said it has cancelled flights this month to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort on the Red Sea because of deteriorating security for foreign tourists on the Sinai Peninsula.

The suspension will last until April 30 inclusive -- a peak period for Europeans seeking a sunny destination during their Easter vacations.

People who have already bought tickets will be reimbursed or offered places on flights to another Egyptian Red Sea resort, Hurghada -- located not on the Sinai Peninsula but across the Gulf of Suez.

The airline's announcement follows warnings by Belgium, Germany and Switzerland for their nationals to avoid all the Sinai following stepped up unrest and violence there. In February, three South Korean tourists were killed in a bomb attack on a bus claimed by an Al-Qaeda-inspired group.

Scores of Egyptian policemen and soldiers have been killed in attacks claimed by Sinai-based militants.

The skittishness of European companies and tourist carriers could be costly for Egypt, which depends on tourism for more than 11 percent of GDP.

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