Theresa May urged to step in over "catastrophic" ongoing UK flight suspension to Sharm el-Sheikh

Rebecca Smith
Monarch has cancelled all holiday bookings and flights to Sharm El-Sheikh
Monarch has cancelled all holiday bookings and flights to Sharm El-Sheikh

Egyptian political and tourism figures have criticised Theresa May's inaction over ongoing UK flight suspension to Sharm El-Sheikh.

Monarch extended its ban on flights there indefinitely earlier this week.

President of the Sharm el-Sheikh Tourism Investors Association, Hisham Aly, criticised Theresa May's approach.

"The Prime Minister’s rhetoric about combating radicalisation at source is utterly contradictory to her own inaction on Sharm el-Sheikh," he said. "The situation is creating exactly the kind of poverty and alienation that fosters extremism."

The Egyptian Ambassador to the UK, Nasser Kamel, said: "Egypt has fully implemented all recommendations made by the British government regarding security in Sharm el-Sheikh.

"We are waiting to hear from the British government what more - if anything - can be done to lift the current flight syspension."

He added that: "The possible economic and social ramifications of mass unemployment in South Sinai as a result of the UK's flight suspension should be a matter of serious concern to our partners in the UK, as they are to the Egyptian government."

Read more: Monarch has cancelled all UK flights to Sharm el-Sheikh

He was speaking ahead of a visit by the Egyptian minister of tourism and the governor of South Sinai to London this weekend, to attend the international travel market expo.

Earlier this week, Monarch announced it had cancelled all flights between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh and holiday bookings indefinitely as security concerns continued. The airline said it had "no indication from the government as to when the airport will re-open flights" and chief executive Andrew Swaffield said it was "very disappointing that we are still unable to fly there".

Read more: Greybull Capital rescues Monarch Airlines with £165m cash injection

A government spokesperson said: "The security of British nationals is our top priority and we took the decision to suspend flights from Sharm el-Sheikh in November last year to protect the travelling public. We keep aviation security under constant review."

The UK government imposed a no-fly rule in the wake of what is now thought to have been a bomb on Metrojet flight 9251 to St Petersburg, a year ago. The plane was destroyed and all 224 people on board were killed.

Prior to the closure of the airport, around 700,000 Brits visited Sharm El-Sheikh every year.

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