Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

British Airways, Lufthansa suspend Cairo flights over safety, security concerns

The airline said it was ‘reviewing our security arrangements Camera Icon The airline said it was ‘reviewing our security arrangements
Patty Aguilar | 21 July, 2019, 22:43

"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 letter from the carrier to passengers reads.

Lufthansa has resumed flights from Cairo, but British Airways says services will still be cancelled for another six days as a "precaution".

Lufthansa said it was suspending its flights as a precaution, mentioning "safety" but not "security" as its concern.

It followed the UK Foreign Office updating its travel advice to Egypt saying "There's a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation".

BA now runs one flight from Heathrow to Cairo and back again per day - and says flights will continue to be suspended between the capital cities until Saturday.

Later on Saturday, Germany's Lufthansa said it had canceled services from Munich and Frankfurt to Cairo but it resumed flights on Sunday.

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

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Najah, an Egyptian academic who was booked on a BA flight to London on Tuesday, told Al Jazeera she was still trying to rebook an alternative flight to get to Spain in time for a summer course she will be teaching.

It continues to advise against travel to certain parts of Egypt including the Sinai peninsula and the west of the country beyond the Nile delta. "He is 80 years old, and we want a direct flight".

"Passengers always want answers, communication and details, but ultimately when it comes to air travel security, airlines have no obligation to share their intelligence or security reasons with passengers", he said.

Britain also advised its citizens to cancel "all but essential travel" to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. "We are closely assessing the situation and are in contact with the relevant aviation authorities with regards to our flight operations to Egypt", said an Emirates spokesperson. However, her boarding card wouldn't open the barriers.

The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment.

"A number of terrorist groups, including ISIS, have committed multiple deadly attacks in Egypt, targeting government officials and security forces, public venues, tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility", the State Department said in its notice, replacing a travel warning from 2016.

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