PM urged to resume flights to Sharm el-Sheikh
23 September 2016 08:11
Flights between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh were suspended by the Government in November 2015
Theresa May is being urged to give the go-ahead for flights to resume between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh by the head of the cross-party parliamentary group on Egypt.
The group's chairman, Sir Gerald Howarth, has written to the Prime Minister asking her to end the ban. The group is claiming significant progress has been made on tightening security checks at the Red Sea resort's airport.
The Conservative MP for Aldershot also warns there is a risk of people in Sharm becoming "radicalised" if the area's tourism industry continues to suffer.
Sir Howarth says a huge amount of money has been invested to create a very sophisticated city..
Hotels in Sharm are only 25-35% occupied and are "clearly hurting" from the UK flight ban, according to the former shadow minister of defence.
"They've kept on the staff. They can't do that indefinitely and, if the staff are laid off, we will have a substantial number of people who will be potentially radicalised," he said.
"There is an imperative on ensuring that the resort can resume its contribution to the prosperity of Egypt."
More security is now in place
Flights between the UK and Sharm have beeb suspended by the Government since November 2015 following the terrorist bombing of a Russian passenger plane, killing 224 people.
Britons at the resort were brought home in a series of rescue flights with extra airport security.
Sir Howarth said: " They really have been listening to what the UK authorities have been asking them to do. They are clearly bending over backwards to try to deliver.
"One of the guys we met was a Department for Transport (DfT) official and when I asked him, 'Are there any showstoppers to the resumption of flights?', he said 'No'."
The chairman believes necessary measures have been put in place to minimise the risk.
"We live in an imperfect world and no government can guarantee 100% security anywhere," he added.
In June, British Airways suspended its flights to Sharm "indefinitely", stating that "the safety and security of our customers will always be our top priorities".
Previous reports from EasyJet, Monarch and Thomson Airways say they are awaiting the Foreign and Commonwealth to change its travel advice, which currently warns against all but essential travel by air to or from the resort.
Wherever travellers fly to they should take out travel insurance to protect against delays and cancellations.