EasyJet, BA ditch Xmas flights to Sharm
London - Thousands of British tourists face Christmas holiday chaos after EasyJet and British Airways announced that they have cancelled flights to Sharm el-Sheikh until at least the New Year.
EasyJet said its decision to suspend flights to the Egypt resort until January 6 was taken following talks with the Department for Transport about concerns over passenger safety.
Five thousand people were due to fly to Sharm with EasyJet. The firm said customers could get a refund or a flight voucher to travel to another destination.
BA said its flights would be suspended until January 14 and that their customers could also get a refund or use the value of the ticket towards an alternative break.
The announcements came as four people were killed and 12 wounded in a suicide car bombing and gun attack at a four-star hotel in El-Arish in North Sinai, 285 miles north of Sharm. The local branch of Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
The British government cancelled all flights to and from Sharm on November 4 after a passenger jet operated by Russian airline Metrojet crashed, killing all 224 people on board. IS terrorists claimed responsibility, saying the plane was brought down with a home-made bomb.
After the crash, British experts carried out a security assessment at Sharm airport and raised concerns, including problems with CCTV coverage and staffing. Britons at the resort were brought home in a series of “rescue” flights. Since then, UK airlines have not operated routes to Sharm.
EasyJet apologised for the inconvenience caused by the extension to the ban but said “the situation is beyond our control and passenger safety will always be our number one priority”.
BA said: “The safety and security of our customers will continue to be our top priorities.”
Thomson, Thomas Cook and Monarch announced they are only cancelling flights and offering refunds until December, prompting criticism from customers.
Grant Rounding wrote on Facebook: “Absolutely unbelievable. Thomson hanging on to our money. EasyJet cancelling over the New Year to give their customers certainty – Thomson move the date a week leaving us in limbo again!”
Thomson has cancelled flights until December 9, Thomas Cook until the following day and Monarch until December 19.Daily Mail