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UK flight ban to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh lifted after four years

The airport was restructured to comply with security standards set by the UK. [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 October, 2019

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The Foreign Office banned all flights heading to the Red Sea resort in Egypt after the downing of a Russian airliner in 2015 that killed 224 people.
British airlines can resume flights to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after a four-year ban, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced on Tuesday.

All flights heading to the Red Sea resort were banned after an Islamic State bombing brought down a Russian passenger plane over Sinai four years ago, killing all 224 people on board. 

"Egypt Restrictions on direct flights between the UK and Sharm El Sheikh have now been lifted. The FCO no longer advise against all but essential travel by air to/from Sharm el Sheikh," tweeted the FCO travel advice account on Tuesday morning. 

The Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been restructured to comply with strict new security standards set by the UK government, according to Egyptian authorities. 

Sharm el-Sheikh, a top resort on the Sinai Peninsula, had been a major package-holiday destination for British tourists before the November 2015 attack.

The Department for Transport said "improvements in security procedures at the airport, and close co-operation between the U.K. and Egypt on aviation security, mean commercial airlines can now be allowed to operate routes to and from the airport."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said "The safety and security of British nationals remains our top priority and this decision follows close co-operation between our aviation security experts and their Egyptian counterparts, and improvements in security procedures at the airport."

On their website, government advice has been updated to reflect the ease in security fears: "The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai, except the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier."

The ban had been catastrophic for the Egyptian tourism industry, as the number of travellers to the Red Sea resort has fallen drastically. 

"More than 1.5 million British visitors came to Egypt in 2010, last year it was 870,000 and this year we expect it will be down by 70 per cent to fewer than 300,0000 visitors," said Yehia Rashed, Egypt’s tourism minister.

Egyptian authorities expressed their frustration over the ban's longevity despite the fact security frameworks for the airport were completed months ago, reported The Telegraph

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