Egyptian authorities have cancelled flights from Sharm el-Sheikh at the last minute. Some passengers had gone through security before they found out they would not be going home. The call comes as authorities continue to debate over why a Russian flight blew up earlier this week.
British authorities believe that terrorists were to blame, as Russia says the black box shows there was an explosion on the plane. ISIS claims that it blew up the plane, although there are some doubting the terrorist group, claiming it is just trying to spark fear.
Flights were expected to return to normal today, after cancellations on Thursday. However, EasyJet, one of the British companies that offers flights in Sharm el-Sheikh, says that only two of its 10 expected flights will go ahead. The company has not been able to give any other details, but says that Egyptian authorities made the call. Passengers are understandably angry, as they are stuck in their holiday destination with no time scale for when they will return home.
According to The Independent, British Prime Minister David Cameron believes that the Russian plane this week was “brought down by a bomb.” British intelligence shows that terrorists were already plotting with ISIS in the area, and now the British companies are on high alert. They need to put their passengers first, even if it means cancelling more flights in and out of Sharm el-Sheikh. Some passengers were not expected to travel until next week but had chosen to cut their holiday short due to the Russian plane crash. West London resident Lauryn Mudzimu says that many people who were supposed to fly home on November 14, the same date as she, have decided to head to the airport now.
This is affecting businesses in Sharm el-Sheikh, businesses that rely heavily on tourism. Too many tourists are panicking and leaving early, meaning that the businesses are now struggling. This is one of the most popular times for British tourists as the weather is much warmer than in their native countries.
Flight cancellations started yesterday. CNN reported that flights would resume on Friday, and that was expected until this morning. The decision was made that carry-on luggage would only be allowed to help with security measures, and the rest of passengers’ luggage would be sent back home separately. There was no statement to say how or when the luggage would return.
The United States also confirms that it was likely a bomb that blew up the Russian plane. US intelligence suggests that the bomb was placed on the plane before takeoff. It is possible that someone inside Sharm el-Sheikh airport was involved, but Egyptian officials disagree with this. An investigation committee has been launched, and there is no evidence to support these claims. The claims are not helping with the state of panic in the tourist resort.
Not all flights from Sharm el-Sheikh will be cancelled today. There will be a restricted number, but that does not make it easier for passengers. EasyJet believes that the decision is “political” more than for a security reason. All passengers really want to know is why they have been stranded in an airport, and whether the rumor of a standoff between the British and Egyptian governments is to blame. British Airways so far believes that none of its flights have been affected, but that could change in due course. Passengers are recommended to check with their airlines to find out if their flights will still go ahead to avoid the hassle at the airport. It is unclear when Sharm el-Sheikh airport will return to normality, and whether a resolution will be gained between the two debating governments.
[Featured photo by David Degner/Getty Images]