Sunday, 21 July 2019
EGYPT: Lufthansa And British Airways Suspend Flights To Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh And Cairo
Lufthansa has said in a statement that as safety is the number one priority of Lufthansa, the airline has temporarily suspended its flights to Cairo today as a precaution, while further assessment is being made.
Lufthansa canceled flights from Frankfurt and Munich to Cairo but is expected to resume service to the Egyptian capital on Sunday. The similar statement was issued earlier by British Airways.
"We constantly review our security arrangements at all our airports around the world and have suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precaution to allow for further assessment. The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we would never operate an aircraft unless it was safe to do so", the statement said.
A spokesperson for the UK-based company has said that the flights were suspended "for seven days as a precaution to allow for further assessment".
Earlier, the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised passengers against air travel to and from Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh but has not issued a similar warning on Cairo.
"There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. Additional security measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK. You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports", the FCO said.
British staff had been checking security at Cairo airport on Wednesday and Thursday. They reportedly gave no further details.
Russia suspended civilian air traffic to Egypt in November 2015 after a bomb brought down a Russian plane, which took off from Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board.
Before regular flights between Moscow and Cairo were resumed in April 2018, Egypt had to seriously enhance security at airports. Charter flights between Russia and Egyptian resorts are yet reportedly to be resumed.
The suspension reportedly resulted in massive losses in Egypt's tourism industry, since this was one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists. It is estimated that Egyptian authorities have spent millions of dollars to ensure the airports’ security.
British Airways said Saturday it had suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precautionary measure following a security review.
The British flag carrier said it would not operate its aircraft unless it felt it was safe to do so.
The British Foreign Office updated its travel advice on Saturday with the British Airways suspension. The Lufthansa website also included a link to the British warning page.
In its travel advice for British nationals heading to Egypt, the Foreign Office in London warns: “There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation.”
“Additional security measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK. You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports.”
Britain advises against all but essential travel by air to or from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in North Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country,” Britons are warned.
Britain canceled flights to Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh in 2015 after jihadists bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort, killing more than 220 people on board.
An estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018.