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Travel industry news

25 Feb 2019

BY James Chapple


‘Review Sharm flight ban’ tour op boss urges PM

Red Sea Holidays boss Peter Kearns has called for an immediate review of the ban on UK flights to Sharm el Sheikh.

Sharm el Sheikh beach

‘Review Sharm flight ban’ tour op boss urges PM

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May flew direct to the Red Sea resort at the weekend for an EU Brexit summit.

UK flights to Sharm were suspended after a Russian airliner was blown out the sky in October 2015 shortly after taking off from Sharm. All 224 people on board were killed.

The UK has been working closely with the Egyptian authorities since then to improve security with a view to lifting the ban. Egypt’s ambassador to the UK last month said Sharm was ready to receive flights from the UK once again.

However, it remains one of two countries, along with Russia, to maintain a ban on flights to Sharm some three years later.

Writing to May on Monday (February 25), Red Sea executive director Peter Kearns called on the PM to “prioritise an immediate review” of the current Sharm flight ban.

“Aside from Russia, the UK is now the only country still maintaining such a ban,” he said. “During the week including the two days of your stay in the city, flight arrivals into Sharm airport originated from Italy, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Denmark and Switzerland together with 12 other countries.

“As a leading independent British tour operator specialising in holidays in Egypt, this request comes with a commercial edge as well as a common sense approach to the global problems caused by such acts as precipitated the current ban, which has now been in place for well over three years.

“I trust your arrival and departure from Sharm el Sheikh were as trouble-free as all the others during the time you were there.”

The ban remains in place despite pressure from the Egyptian State Tourist Board, which last year switched its focus in the UK away from Sharm to Hurghada, Luxor and Marsa Alam, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt.

Co-chairman, MP Stephen Timms, told TTG on Monday the APPG had a “clear view” the ban should be lifted, adding he hoped the PM’s visit would be an opportunity to “look at the security improvements at Sharm, made with advice from the UK”.

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