Cairo – Egypt’s civil aviation ministry has denied reports that it stopped British airlines from flying into Sharm al-Sheikh airport on Friday.
It explained that the airlines which were to take home stranded tourists were limited by the airport’s capacity.
EasyJet airline had said that Egyptian authorities suspended British airlines from flying into Sharm al-Sheikh, preventing the tourists from leaving the resort.
Reacting to the development, Minister of Civil Aviation in Egypt, Hossam Kamal, said that “the British airline wants to schedule 18 flights at the same time.
‘’They want to transport British passengers from Sharm al-Sheikh without their luggage, which we would have to transport later.
“This constitutes a huge burden on the airport because its capacity does not allow for that.
‘’ We have asked them to organise eight flights only and one plane will transport luggage.”
British ambassador to Egypt, John Casson, echoed Kamal’s comments about the scale of the operation and said progress was being made in transporting tourists back.
“Flights are coming in which will allow us to take more people home today,” Casson said in Sharm al-Sheikh.
As he spoke, he said the first two flights to Britain had already boarded and were due to take 180 passengers each.
“There are just some challenging logistical issues involved in making sure that flights can leave and arrive in a busy airport in line with international regulation in a way that is safe.
‘’We are working through tese issues,” he said.
It would be recalled that Russian airliner with tourist from Sharm el-Sheikh exploded mid-air on Oct. 31, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.
The development saw tourists leaving the Sharm el Sheik holiday destination abruptly.
According to a United Kingdom report, an estimated 20,000 British citizens, including at least 9,000 holidaymakers, remained in Sharm el-Sheikh. (Reuters/NAN)