Published on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thomas Cook pulls plug on Sharm for summer 2017

Thomas Cook UK and Ireland will not be offering package holidays to Sharm el Sheikh for summer 2017, managing director Chris Mottershead has confirmed.

The operator had 'made a small number of packages and flights available', but had warned customers that these might not be able to go ahead due to the current ban on flights to the resort's airport.

The UK Government ordered the suspension of all commercial flights in November 2015 after a Russian Metrojet, which had just taken off from Sharm, exploded over the Sinai killing all 224 passengers and crew.

Mottershead said that even if the FCO changed its guidance it would be too late to offer a full programme and customers who had already booked Sharm would be offered alternative holidays.

In a blog on the Thomas Cook website, Mottershead said he has regularly been asked when the operator will resume trips to Sharm from the UK.

He said: "The decision ultimately rests with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which issues expert security advice for UK travellers.

"Since October 2015 it has advised against flying to Sharm el Sheikh airport and we have had no indication that this is likely to change in the near future.

"Therefore, we have sadly decided we won't be able to offer any trips from the UK to Sharm next summer. We will continue to offer holidays to the popular and growing resort town of Hurghada on the Red Sea Riviera in Egypt.

He continued: "As you can imagine, we plan our summer programme many months in advance.

"We need to make decisions about how many rooms we want and work closely with the hoteliers to ensure our customers have the best time and the highest quality experience.

"Having left it as long as possible, we have decided that even if the advice were to change in the next few months, we wouldn't be able to offer a full programme to the resort next summer."

Mottishead added: "This is sad news for our friends and partners in Sharm with whom we have worked with for many years.

"It is a fantastic destination and as soon as the advice changes and we can build it into our holiday programme, we look forward to flying customers from the UK to Sharm again so they can enjoy all the resort has to offer."

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