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Egypt flights disrupted amid unrest

Disruption to flight schedules between Britain and Cairo has worsened as violence continued in the Egyptian capital.

A British Midland International flight which aimed to beat the curfew in the city had to return to Heathrow because the Egyptian authorities brought the deadline to get off the streets forward by two hours.

An airline spokesman said flight BD771, which left for Cairo on Saturday morning, arrived back at 4.26pm.

"The scheduled flight had been three hours into its journey and was due to arrive well before the start of the curfew introduced by the Egyptian government," he said.

"However, the start of the curfew was brought forward while the aircraft was en route and, as a result, bmi asked the pilot to return the aircraft to Heathrow. The aircraft, an Airbus A321, was carrying 64 passengers and six crew members. Passengers were kept fully informed throughout the journey of the changing situation in Cairo."

Passengers were offered hotel accommodation at Heathrow for Saturday evening, and given the option to rebook their journey with bmi. The airline also decided to cancel Sunday's services between Heathrow and Cairo, and passengers due to travel between the destinations on Monday were urged to check "Flight Status" on the website flybmi.com.

Meanwhile British Airways chartered a plane to bring people home from Cairo and also changed the timings of Cairo flights to operate outside the curfew.

Travel companies cancelled excursions to Cairo for holidaymakers in Egypt - a spokesman for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland said tourist areas at the Red Sea have not been affected by the recent demonstrations but said that as a precautionary measure only, the company had cancelled excursions from the Red Sea resorts to Cairo up to and including February 2.

Thomson and First Choice have more than 11,000 customers in Egypt at the moment, about 8,700 of these in Sharm el Sheikh and 950 in Luxor.

A spokeswoman said: "At this time the FCO see no need for a full evacuation of customers currently in Luxor. Therefore, at this time, customers may continue their holidays in Luxor as planned. We do advise all customers currently in Luxor to see their local representative for updated information and respect any curfews currently in place. All excursions to Cairo and Luxor have been cancelled until further notice."

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