Travel firms call for Sharm el-Sheikh flight ban decision

07 November 2016 08:12

Sharm el-Sheikh is an important market for airlines and holiday companies, with hundreds of thousands of people visiting from the UK each year

Sharm el-Sheikh is an important market for airlines and holiday companies, with hundreds of thousands of people visiting from the UK each year

Minsters have been urged to set a date to resume UK flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, one year after they were suspended due to terror threat fears.

The Egyptian Red Sea resort is an important market for airlines and holiday companies, with hundreds of thousands of people visiting from the UK each year.

However, the number of tourists visiting the area has fallen since the Government banned flights to Sharm el-Sheikh airport on November 4 last year, following the suspected terrorist bombing of a Russian airliner.

Pressure from travel firms

More than 30 travel businesses including TUI Group, Saga Holidays and Expedia have formed a partnership to call for a decision on when their customers will be able to fly direct from the UK to the popular winter sun destination.

They fear that if the uncertainty is not ended imminently then it will be too late to include it in their winter 2016/17 programmes.

Rasha Azaizi, director of the Egyptian State Tourist Office in London, said: "This long-term ban on flights to Sharm el-Sheikh is now affecting many UK travel businesses as well as airlines and is causing deep consumer confusion.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth advice is currently that it is safe to visit Sharm el-Sheikh but not to go through the airport.

"That's given people the impression that they can't visit Egypt when in fact British Airways, easyJet, Thomas Cook, Thomson and EgyptAir are already operating direct flights to other airports in Egypt."

UK holidaymakers who still want a break in Sharm el-Sheikh are forced to either take multiple flights or book a place on a ferry from Hurghada.

Other countries have lifted flight ban

Last week Belgian airline Jetairfly became the latest to announce that it will resume flights.

The German government lifted its flight ban earlier this year, while in September Turkish Airlines recommenced flights from Istanbul.

However, on Wednesday, Monarch announced that it has cancelled all flight and holiday bookings to the resort "for the foreseeable future".

Holidaymakers should take out travel insurance before flying to protect themselves against delays and cancellations.

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