Egyptian Ambassador to the UK Calls for Resumption of Flights to Sharm
The Egyptian Ambassador to the UK has called for the resumption of direct flights to the resort of Sharm-El-Sheikh.
Direct flights to the resort from the UK have been suspended since the October 2015 downing of a Russian airline shortly after take-off from Sharm El Sheikh airport, which killed all 224 people on board. The resulting loss in tourism had a devastating effect on the Egyptian economy, which relies on tourism for a significant proportion of its national income. Several of Sharm's big-name dive centres and resorts were either closed or mothballed as a result.
Since then, tourism to Sharm has recovered somewhat, although far from the peak numbers of 2010, and with a significantly different demographic in the absence of Russian and British tourists. Some of the dive centres have re-opened, albeit with smaller premises.
In an interview with the BBC, Ambassador Tarek Adel said: 'British direct flights to Sharm El Sheikh have been suspended since November 2015 and since that date, we have been working very closely with British technical and security teams to upgrade many of the facilities in Egyptian airports in general and Sharm el-Sheikh in particular.'
Over £20 million has been invested in increased airport security. Outdated equipment has been replaced and more than 7,000 staff were trained by the UK aviation security firm Restrata. Background checks on employees were undertaken and a biometric ID system for all airport employees was introduced.
'We have concluded the work in this regard,' said Adel, 'and that was in close coordination with the British technical teams. We are set to be ready to receive once again direct flights from Britain.'
Most European nations have resumed direct flights to Sharm, along with Egypt's neighbouring Arabic states. Click here for a July 2018 listing of available flights.