Tui resumes flights to Sharm el Sheikh after four-year ban


Direct UK flights to the Egyptian beach resort were banned after the bombing of a Russian jet in 2015.

                              Tui resumes flights to Sharm el Sheikh after four-year ban

Tui will resume flights to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt four years after the Islamic State bombing of a Russian jet.

The UK’s biggest travel company said on Friday it will re-start air services in February 2020 due to “customer demand” after the Department for Transport (DfT) lifted restrictions.

The government stopped flights between the UK and the Egyptian resort in November 2015 following the bombing of a Russian airliner shortly after take-off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing 224 people on board.

Hundreds of thousands of UK holidaymakers visited the destination each year until the flight restrictions, with the tourist hotspot being an attraction for winter sun-seekers.

                              Tui resumes flights to Sharm el Sheikh after four-year ban

The DfT said there had been “improvements in security procedures” and “close co-operation between our aviation experts and their Egyptian counterparts” when it lifted the ban last week.

Tui is believed to be the first major travel company to announce when flights will resume, though smaller firms are offering chartered flights from next month.

Mark Hall, director of product and destination experience at Tui UK and Ireland, said: “At Tui we’re committed to offering our customers an outstanding choice of holidays across the globe.

“Sharm el Sheikh was always a hugely popular destination and I am delighted to confirm that we are reintroducing the Egypt favourite to our winter 2019 and summer 2020 programmes.

“In response to customer demand, our first flights will operate in February 2020 and our resorts are all looking forward to welcoming our customers back with a smile.”

The travel company will begin selling holidays to the resort on 7 November.

The restrictions were one of the factors which led to the collapse of airline Monarch in October 2017.

Britain’s prolonged suspension of flights had also been a point of friction between London and Cairo, with the Egyptian government pushing for the ban to be halted sooner.

Tourism is an important part of Egypt’s economy, particularly at beach resorts like Sharm el Sheikh.

A number of other nations banned flights to the resort following the downing of the Russian jet, although the UK and Russia were the only countries to keep the ban in place after a year.

The number of UK visitors declined significantly since the only way to reach the resort was by taking several different flights or a ferry from Hurghada.

Rasha Azaizi, director of the Egyptian State Tourist Office in London, said the ban was “affecting many UK travel businesses as well as airlines and is causing deep consumer confusion”.

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