An airline passenger pushes a stroller near a sign for international arrivals. Picture: Ted S. Warren/AP

Johannesburg – British Airways (BA) has issued a statement confirming its sudden suspension of flights to the Egyptian capital Cairo over the weekend stating it is a precaution to allow for further assessment of the security situation in Egypt.

"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 in a Saturday statement. 

Lufthansa Airways followed suite saying it had cancelled all flights to Cairo from Munich and Frankfurt on Saturday but later added it would resume them on Sunday.

Neither air lines, however, would add further comment when pressed for details of their concerns with a BA spokeswoman saying that matters of security were never discussed.

However, Haaretz reported on Sunday that according to three Egyptian airport security sources three British staff members had been checking security at Cairo airport on Wednesday and Thursday, without giving further details.

On Saturday the British Foreign Office also updated its travel advisory to add a reference to BA's suspension, advising travellers affected to contact the airline. Neither the foreign ministry nor the transport ministries were reported to be behind the suspension decision.

Egypt Air stepped in by adding more flights from Cairo to London to facilitate stranded passengers.

British citizens have been warned for several years by London not to travel to the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh, on the restive Sinai Peninsula where Egyptian security forces are fighting an Islamist insurgency, following the downing of a Russian passenger jet in 2015 after a bomb was placed on board.

But this is the first time Cairo has been included in a security warning.

African News Agency (ANA)