Egypt’s ambassador to the UK Nasser Kamel reportedly blamed UK’s prime minister Theresa May for hindering the resumption of direct flights to Egypt’s city of Sharm El-Sheikh, despite Egypt’s implementation of all demanded security measures in airports and resorts.
The UK has suspended its direct flights to and from Sharm El-Sheikh about year ago, following the crash of a Russian aeroplane in Sinai shortly after it took off. Following the banning decision, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry said the UK’s banning decision was “premature”.
In a reported interview with BBC Radio 4, Kamel said that all the countries in the European Union and airlines have resumed their flights except for the UK, describing the situation as “mind-boggling”. The ambassador added that whenever he speaks to officials, they all second the resumption decision; however, the suspension seems to be decided from a higher authority.
When Kamel was asked about why he thinks the flights haven’t been resumed yet, he said: “This question should be directed to the prime minister”.
Kamel concluded saying that Egypt has invested millions of US dollars to tighten security in Sharm El-Sheikh’s airports and resorts.
On 31 October 2015, a Russian aeroplane that took off from Sharm El-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg crashed, killing all 224 passengers and crew members on board. As a result, several countries and airlines suspended their direct flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. Russia has suspended all its direct flights to Egypt, but according to Egyptian and Russian officials, the direct flights are expected to resume by the beginning of 2017.
The crash of the Russian plane negatively affected the tourism sector in Egypt which was already suffering following the 25 January Revolution. A terrorist group announced its responsibility for the crash despite President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ruling out this possibility.