Suspension of BA flights for a week as a “precaution” comes after the British government issued a warning about a higher risk of attacks on planes over Egypt.
The suspension of flights came abruptly on Saturday even as British Airways passengers were about to board a flight from London to Cairo. Media reports said passengers were stopped from boarding and told by the airline that there would be no flights to the Egyptian capital for another week.
“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,” British Airways said.
British Airways did not provide details on why it was suspending the flights or what the safety concerns were. In its statement, it only said, “The safety and security of our customers and crew is always a priority, and we would never operate an aircraft unless it was safe to do so.”
The United Kingdom government’s official website warns Britons against traveling to Sinai specifically because of likely terrorist attacks there as well as to certain areas in west Egypt, but does not warn against travel to Cairo.
Following BA’s announcement, Lufthansa, which operates flights from Cairo to Munich and Frankfurt, said it was also suspending flights until Sunday, citing “an unclear security situation”.
Egyptian officials claimed that the suspension decision was political and aims at harming Egypt following the country’s successful organization of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 and the tourist vogue seen during July.
The decision will impact the winter season for tourism in Egypt, the officials asserted.
Meanwhile, the ministry increased the seat capacity of EgyptAir flights to London and allocated a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane to fly from Cairo International Airport to Heathrow Airport starting Monday in order to transport the extra travelers.
As estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018, according to the government’s website.