Published on Monday, July 22, 2019

Egypt 'dismayed' as BA suspends all Cairo flights

Egypt has expressed its 'dismay' at British Airways' decision to suspend flights to Cairo over concerns of security risks.

BA announced daily flight between Heathrow and the Egyptian capital would be cancelled for seven days from Saturday July 20 as a precaution to allow for 'further assessment'.

Lufthansa also cancelled its Cairo flights on Saturday, citing an 'unclear security situation', adding safety is its 'number one priority'. On Sunday it announced on Twitter that it had resumed the service.

Egypt's aviation minister Younis al Masry met British ambassador Geoffrey Adams on Sunday and 'expressed his displeasure at British Airways taking a decision unilaterally concerning the security of Egyptian airports without referring to the competent Egyptian authorities,' according to a statement.

El Masry told the ambassador he was 'dismayed by the unilateral decision to suspend flights'.

A statement added: "The British Ambassador apologised to the Minister of Aviation for not informing Egyptian authorities before te decision was issued, stressing that the decision is not related to security measures at Egyptian airports."

Australia's ABC News reported BA's regional director Sherif Barsoum had said: "We have no concerns over security at Cairo Airport. This decision is purely related to the airlines."

BA said the suspension of services was its own decision and its flights will remain grounded until at least Friday, July 26.

In a letter handed to passengers at Heathrow who were about to board a flight to Cairo, BA said: "We constantly review our security arrangements at all our airports around the world and have suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precaution to allow for further assessment.

"The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we would never operate an aircraft unless it was safe to do so."

Lufthansa issued a statement saying: "As safety is the number one priority of Lufthansa, the airline has temporarily suspended its flights to Cairo today as a precaution, while further assessment is being made."

BA has said passengers due to fly to and from Cairo who still want to travel are being rebooked on flights operated by other airlines, such as Royal Jordanian via Amman. Those that no longer wish to fly are being offered a refund.

On Friday, the Foreign Office updated its advice to Egypt. The advice includes the warning: "There's a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. Additional security measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK."


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