World News

Britain to resume flights to Sharm al-Sheikh "as soon as possible"

By

Reuters


Published:
07:06 EST, 19 November 2015

|
Updated:
07:06 EST, 19 November 2015

CAIRO, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Britain is working “actively and
urgently” to resume flights to the Egyptian resort of Sharm
al-Sheikh following the downing of the Russian plane over Sinai
last month that killed all 224 people on board, the government
said on Thursday.

A delegation of British aviation and counter-terrorism
experts has spent the past two days meeting Egyptian authorities
in Cairo to work out how best to tighten security and allow
flights to and from the Red Sea resort to resume.

“Our talks have shown very encouraging progress,” Britain’s
Ambassador in Egypt, John Casson, said in a statement, adding
Prime Minister David Cameron had conveyed the message that
Britain would work “actively, urgently and in detail” with the
Egyptian authorities to get flights back to normal.

“We now have a strong basis to agree a shared plan in the
days ahead, and to return British flights as soon as possible.”

Sharm al-Sheikh is a major destination for British tourists,
with a number of budget and charter airlines, including Easyjet,
Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines, carrying visitors to
the resort over the busy end of year season.

The Russian passenger jet crashed shortly after leaving
Sharm al-Sheikh airport on Oct. 31. Islamic State militants have
claimed responsibility, saying a bomb was smuggled on board the
aircraft in a soft drink can.

Britain, Russia and other countries suspended flights after
the crash. While some have resumed travel to Sharm al-Sheikh,
Britain sought deeper reassurances about the security
arrangements at the airport.

The ambassador said Britain’s goal was to protect its own
citizens while not damaging the Egyptian economy.

“A strong Egyptian economy with a strong tourist industry,
at the strategic heart of this vital region, is a national
interest for Britain,” he said. “Recent events have shown that
every country must take every possible step to protect their
citizens.”

(Writing by Luke Baker, Editing by Lin Noueihed and Janet
Lawrence)

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