British Airways suspends flights to Cairo for seven days

British ambassador reported as saying decision not linked to security at Egypt airports

Cairo International Airport: Tourism to Egypt has been recovering after a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian jet. Photograph:  Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Cairo International Airport: Tourism to Egypt has been recovering after a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian jet. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany

 

Egypt’s aviation minister on Sunday expressed his dismay over British Airways’ decision to suspend flights to the Egyptian capital to the UK’s ambassador to Cairo.

International Airlines Group’s British Airways suspended flights to Cairo on Saturday for seven days “as a security precaution” as it reviews security at the city’s airport.

Later on Saturday, Germany’s Lufthansa said it had cancelled services from Munich and Frankfurt to Cairo but it resumed flights on Sunday.

Air France, Emirates and Etihad Airways continued to operate flights to Cairo.

Younis al-Masry “expressed his displeasure at British Airways taking a decision unilaterally concerning the security of Egyptian airports without referring to the competent Egyptian authorities”, the aviation ministry said in a statement released after a meeting between the Egyptian aviation minister and British ambassador Geoffrey Adams.

The statement went on to say that Adams had apologised for not informing Egyptian authorities before the decision was made and cited him as saying the flight suspension was not related to the security measures at Egyptian airports.

‘Assessing the situation’

The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment.

A spokesman for Air France, in a statement, said the airline had decided to maintain its service to Cairo after liasing with French and Egyptian authorities.

An Emirates spokeswoman said its flights were operating to schedule.

“We are closely assessing the situation and are in contact with the relevant aviation authorities with regards to our flight operations to Egypt, ” the spokeswoman said.

The website for Abu Dhabi’s Etihad showed its services were also operating and a spokesman said the airline was monitoring the security situation in Cairo.

Tourism, a key source of foreign revenue for Egypt, has been recovering after visitor numbers dropped in the wake of a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian jet, which killed all 224 people on board shortly after take-off.

That attack, claimed by Islamic State, prompted Russia to halt all flights to Egypt for several years and a number of countries, including Britain, to cease flights to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which have yet to resume. – Reuters