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British Airways suspends flights to Cairo as security ‘precaution’

Flights to the Egyptian capital have been halted for seven days.

British Airways has halted flights to Cairo as a security precaution, it said (Tim Ockenden/PA)
British Airways has halted flights to Cairo as a security precaution, it said (Tim Ockenden/PA)

British Airways has suspended all flights to Cairo for seven days as a security precaution.

The airline announced on Saturday evening that all flights into the Egyptian capital were halted.

A statement 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 British Airways

“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.”

A spokeswoman later added: “We are rebooking customers who wish to travel this week on flights with alternative airlines. Customers who no longer wish to travel will be offered a refund.”

It is understood British Airways made the Department for Transport aware of its decision ahead of the announcement.

A Government spokesman said: “We are aware that British Airways is notifying passengers that it has decided to suspend flights to Cairo temporarily.”

Reuters said it was told by three Egyptian airport security sources that British staff were checking security at the airport on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cairo Airport website’s arrivals page listed flight BA155 from London, due to arrive in Terminal 2 at 11.15pm local time, as cancelled.

The airline runs one flight to and one from the city per day.

Current Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice on travel to Egypt warns against “all travel” to certain parts of the country.

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The Foreign Office advises against travel to many parts of Egypt but Cairo is within a safer region of the country (Foreign Office)

But Cairo is part of a safer region, where the FCO suggests reviewing its advice before visiting.

The FCO also advises against “all but essential” travel by air to the resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, a once popular destination for British holidaymakers.

“An estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018,” according to the website’s advice page, which was last updated on Friday. “Most visits are trouble free.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in North Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country.”

Some affected passengers used social media to share pictures which appeared to show a letter handed out by British Airways with a similar message about security.

One customer, Rasha, who asked to keep her surname private, told PA she was booked on a flight on July 25 but was alerted by text about the suspensions.

The IT worker, who is from Egypt and has lived with her family in Britain for six years, said she was supposed to meet her husband, children and other relatives.

“It’s just terrible,” she said. “It may seem like I’m just missing my flight for a holiday but I really need to go.

“I just want to know why do they have the right to cancel and not give at least an alternative?

“Now I’m running around not knowing what to do. I need to know why.

“Fair enough here is a political situation that is out of their hands, security, whatever, but at least offer a reroute. That’s all. They have to offer a solution.”

A spokeswoman for the airline said it could not immediately offer more information about the suspensions.

The airline was also among several major carriers to announce in June they would reroute flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.

The move – also taken by Australia’s Qantas, Dutch carrier KLM, Emirates, Germany’s Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines – followed the downing of a US drone by Iran.

PA

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