British Airways, Lufthansa abruptly suspend flights to Egypt’s capital
British Airways, Lufthansa abruptly suspend flights to Cairo, citing “security concerns”: British Airways decided yesterday to suspend for seven days its flights to Cairo “as a precaution to allow for further assessment” of security arrangements, the airline said in a statement, according to Reuters. Three sources from Egypt’s airport security told the newswire that “British staff had been checking security at Cairo airport on Wednesday and Thursday,” but did not provide further details. Lufthansa followed suit with a one-day suspension of its flights to Cairo from Munich and Frankfurt yesterday, saying it would resume flights again today, according to the newswire.
British gov’t didn’t order the suspension, but did raise threat level in Egypt travel advisory: Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement yesterday that the British airliner’s decision to suspend flights was not ordered from the British foreign or transport ministries. However, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice on Egypt to say that there is “a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation.” The Civil Aviation Ministry also said it would arrange additional flights from Cairo to Heathrow airport in London to accommodate travelers’ plans.
Lest you need a reminder, the UK’s ban on flights to Sharm El Sheikh is still in place since it was imposed in 2015 following the Russian Metrojet crash. Last we heard on the matter, British Prime Minister Theresa May said in February that the ban was still “under review.”
The story is picking up steam in the foreign press, with the Financial Times, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Huffington Post, Sky News, BBC, and of course British tabloids including the Daily Star and Metro all taking note.
Maybe not related, but probably also not helping matters: Public Health England issued a statement last week warning travelers heading to Hurghada about E. coli infections, which has reportedly affected “a number of people, including children” who traveled to the Red Sea town.