Britain authorizes flights to bring tourists home from Sharm el-Sheikh
Flights to bring British tourists home from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh will resume Friday, but passengers will only be allowed to carry hand luggage, the British government announced.
“The government has decided, in consultation with the airlines, that flights from Sharm to the UK will resume tomorrow,” a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said.
“The additional security measures will include permitting passengers to carry hand baggage only and transporting hold luggage separately.”
Flights to Britain were suspended on Wednesday night after the government determined it was possible a bomb had brought down a Russian flight that had just departed Sharm el-Sheikh last Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.
Passenger flights to Sharm el-Sheikh from Britain remain suspended, and the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to or from the Egyptian resort by air.
British airlines, easyJet and Monarch said they were planning a total of 15 flights on Friday to repatriate some of the 20,000 British tourists currently in the resort.
“All hold luggage will be returned to customers under separate secure cover arranged by the UK Government,” a statement from Thomson Airways said.
British officials were sent to Sharm el-Sheikh airport to assess security and beef up checks, as Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters it was “more likely than not that it was a terrorist bomb” that brought down the Russian flight.
EasyJet said it was planning eight additional flights and said that anyone scheduled to fly in the next 14 days to Sharm el-Sheikh could get their money back or could change their destination.
Monarch, a British charter company serving the Egyptian resort, said it hoped to carry out five flights – two scheduled ones and three extra ones.