Sharm el-Sheikh: the United Kingdom should lift the flight ban – ambassador of Egypt

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Tourists enjoy the water on a beach in the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, south of Cairo, EgyptCopyright of the image
Reuters

Legend

The seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh was very popular with the British, but the number of visitors dropped after the flight ban.

Direct flights between Britain and Sharm el-Sheikh are expected to resume, said Egypt's ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Tarek Adel told the BBC that Egypt had finished working with British security teams to improve its airports and was ready to welcome the flights again.

All British flights to the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh have been banned November 2015.

It follows the bombing of a Russian airliner that killed the 224 people on board. The Islamic State group claimed to be at the origin of the attack.

Previously, Sharm el-Sheikh attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from the United Kingdom, making it an important holiday resort for airlines and holiday companies.

But despite travel agents calling to determine when British flights to the Red Sea could resume, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to advise against "all essential air travel to or from Sharm el-Sheikh".

The Egyptian ambassador told BBC Radio 4's Today show that he hoped the British government would decide to resume its flights soon.

"British direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh have been suspended since November 2015 and since then we have been working closely with the UK's technical and security teams to upgrade many facilities at Egyptian airports in general and Sharm El Sheikh. -Cheikh in particular, "Mr. Adel said.

"We have completed the work in this regard and this was in close coordination with the British technical teams and we are ready to receive again direct flights from Great Britain."

Remote location

Former police officer Chris Phillips, who went to Sharm el-Sheikh in the aftermath of the bombing, told the Today program that despite the security upgrade caution was needed.

Mr Phillips said that he would not go himself to the Red Sea city.

"We have to be careful because what we might consider to be appropriate security is not considered identical elsewhere," he said.

Phillips, who has not visited the area since 2015, said Sharm el-Sheikh himself was very vulnerable because of its remote location.

The former head of the national anti-terrorism security office said that one of the station's problems was that the surrounding desert made it difficult to control its borders because "you can cross the desert".

However, he said the British government needed to reexamine the issue because the Egyptian economy needed tourism.

"He [Sharm el-Sheikh] will always be at the top of the threat for vacationers. But that does not mean you should not go because there are other places we go, like this one, "he added.

According to the Foreign Office, about 900,000 Britons traveled to Egypt in 2015. In 2016, this number has fallen to 231,000.

The British government suspended flights to the Red Sea resort following the October 31, 2015 bombing of a passenger plane shortly after take-off from Sharm el Airport. -Cheikh.

Copyright of the image
EPA

Legend

The plane was heading to St. Petersburg when it crashed

More than 16,000 Britons stranded in the region have been repatriated home through rescue flights in a climate of increased security.

Egyptian officials have since acknowledged that, at the time, the airport of Sharm el-Sheikh was well below international safety standards.

They responded to a January 2016 report on its shortcomings by bringing in a team of British aviation safety experts who spent time evaluating major Egyptian airports.