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The U.K. lifted its advisory against commercial airlines flying to the popular Egyptian beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, a boost for the North African nation’s important tourism industry.
The step was taken after security improvements at the airport and close co-operation between the U.K. and Egypt, the British government said in a statement. It pledged to work with airlines interested in resuming flights.
British authorities placed the restriction after a Russian jetliner departing the South Sinai resort was downed by a suspected bomb attack in October 2015 claimed by an Islamic State affiliate. Easyjet and British Airways were among the carriers that suspended flights.
The decision reflects “the satisfaction of the British authorities with the security and safety that Egypt enjoys, after the measures the Egyptian government took on all levels, whether it’s at its airports or tourist areas,” Egypt’s Tourism Ministry said in a statement. Overall tourism from the U.K. to Egypt will also be boosted because the flight ban “had sparked British tourists’ fears of visiting the Egyptian destination in general,” it added.
All 224 passengers and crew on the charter flight from the Sinai resort to St. Petersburg died in the suspected terrorist bombing, prompting the U.K., Russia and others to suspend flights. The downing of the Metrojet airliner shortly after its departure from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh battered Egypt’s tourism sector, deepening a hard currency crunch the country was then battling. It also led to a Russian ban on direct air travel to Egypt.
Russia has also said it may resume flights to Egypt in the near future.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.