UK Government Announces Resumption of Flights to Sharm el Sheikh
The UK government is to lift its ban on flights into Sharm El Sheikh airport – four years after it was imposed.
The UK is one of the last countries to continue to impose a ban on flights into the airport following a terrorist bomb killing 224 passengers and crew on an Airbus heading for St Petersburg from Sharm.
The Independent is reporting that British airlines have been told that they can restart flights as long as the Egyptian authorities agree to some security protocols thought to include UK security personnel carrying out checks while the planes are on the ground in Egypt.
In a public statement on the UK government website, Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport said:
'We look forward to services to Sharm El-Sheikh resuming, and lifting the restriction is the first step in that process.
'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.
'We will now work closely with airlines who wish to resume flights to and from the airport.'
DIVE has been campaigning for the UK to follow other countries in allowing direct flights to use Sharm airport.
Daniel Stokes, a long-term dive guide and instructor in Sharm said: 'This is fantastic news for the resort of Sharm, the people that live and work here and of course British divers that have been longing to come back via direct routes. It's great to see the UK government finally recognising the huge efforts by the Egyptian authorities and following the now long in place leads by such European countries as Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and others to allow direct flights to resume.'
'Whilst this is just the first step (we need operators now to plan flights and offer them for sale), the whole resort is hugely excited to welcome back the fantastically valued and greatly missed Brits,' said Daniel, adding, 'the diving in Sharm in recent years has been truly stunning and we expect a lot of divers will be looking forward to getting back as soon as possible to their historic "diving home"!'
Holiday company Tui (formerly Thomson) was the first to respond to the news, with a spokesperson saying that the operator will reintroduce the Red Sea resort as a destination based on customer demand, and will 'work closely with our hotel and airport partners so we can confirm more details in due course.'
EasyJet has also responded to the lifting of the ban saying that it will 'look at any opportunities for easyJet and easyJet holidays as a result.'
**this is a breaking news story - we will update the page as new details emerge**