This airline is using the EgyptAir hijacking as a selling point, suggesting customers could win a trip to Cyprus

Edith Hancock
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Lions Trips is turning a hostage situation into a promotional stunt (Source: Getty)

One travel firm's loss is another's gain, at least as far as Egyptian operator Lions Trips is concerned.

Lions Trips has received a backlash after using Tuesday's airliner hijacking to promote its own services by suggesting customers could win a free trip to Cyprus.

The company posted the message on its Facebook page, hours after Egyptian Seif Eldin Mustafa held staff and passengers hostage on an EgyptAir plane, forcing it to be redirected from Cairo.

The travel firm wasted no time in using EgyptAir's bad week for its own business growth, suggesting that customers could go pretty much anywhere if they book a flight to Red Sea resort Hurghada with Lions Trips.

As well as including the "crying-with-laughter" and "dancing woman" emojis, Lions Trips' message said: "Book a flight from us to Hurghada before Thursday April 7 and maybe a hijacker will take you to Cyprus. And who knows, roll the dice and maybe it will be France or Italy."

The post sparked angry responses from some, who labelled the ad as "heartless", while others seemed to enjoy the firm's shocking suggestion.

Mustafa was remanded in custody on Wednesday for eight days following his court appearance. Authorities in Cyprus have described the accused as "mentally unstable", while a spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry branded the hijacker an "idiot".

Asked about reports that the hijacker had demanded to see a woman, Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades laughed and said: "Always there is a woman."