Published on 6 Nov 2015 Sections , ,

Sharm el-Sheikh: confusion over evacuation plans

The Transport Secretary says most British tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh will be home by this evening; but EasyJet says its planned rescue flights “have been suspended by the Egyptian authorities”.

The Transport Secretary says most British tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh will be home by this evening; but EasyJet says its planned rescue flights “have been suspended by the Egyptian authorities”.

In a round of media interviews this morning, Patrick McLoughlin said that most British tourists stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh would be back in the UK by this evening.

He thanked airlines for laying on extra flights and negotiating with Egyptian authorities to get British tourists back to the UK.

EasyJet, Thomson Airways, British Airways, Thomas Cook and Monarch all announced they would operate flights from Sharm el-Sheikh to the UK today, including extra “rescue flights”, aimed at clearing a passenger backlog.

But an Egyptian civil aviation ministry official told the news agency Reuters that the ministry was not blocking British flights at Sharm el-Sheikh, instead citing “airport capacity” as the reason for cancellations.

But those plans were thrown into confusion, after Easyjet announced its “rescue flights” had been suspended by the Egyptian authorities. In a statement posted on its website, it said it was trying to overturn the decision through discussions at “the highest political level”.

Eight of the airline’s ten scheduled flights from Sharm el-Sheikh today have been suspended. But a spokesman for the airline said it believed two others have taken off carrying a total of 339 passengers.

British Airways and Monarch said they are expecting their flights to depart as planned.