EgyptAir has made a statement that Flight MS804, which departed Paris en route to Cairo, Egypt, has disappeared from radar.
An informed source at EGYPTAIR stated that Flight no MS804,which departed Paris at 23:09 (CEST),heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar.— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) May 19, 2016
According to USA Today, families of the passengers are gathered at Cairo International Airport and assistance is being given as needed.
In a report by CNN, the plane was said to be flying at 37,000 feet at the time of its disappearance, and 69 people including crew are on board.
Since EgyptAir is in ISIS territory, concerns are rising about terrorist activity playing a role in the disappearance of the EgyptAir flight.
Mary Schiavo, a former Transportation Department inspector general, told CNN that because the plane was not over a war zone, the disappearance was likely a “mechanical failure or possible nefarious activity.”
EgyptAir was founded in 1932, the airline currently employs over 10,000 people.
EgyptAir is based at Cairo International Airport, which represents its main hub. EgyptAir currently has scheduled passenger and freight services to more than 75 destinations.
Without any backing from the Egyptian government, EgyptAir is self-financing and privately owned.
In a report by USA Today, EgyptAir said it would provide more details as they become available.
EgyptAir is no stranger to frightening circumstances. On March 29 of this year, BBC News reported that EgyptAir Flight MS181 was taken over by a passenger who claimed that he was wearing an explosive belt and intended to detonate the device on board the EgyptAir flight.
The hijacking diverted the EgyptAir flight to Cyprus, a tiny Mediterranean island.
Upon landing on the small island, Cypriot security forces awaited his exit from the parked aircraft. The hijacker, an Egyptian man, walked down the aircraft’s steps and onto the tarmac.
The EgyptAir hijacker was named by Cypriot officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa. Apparently, the man’s estranged wife lived on the island of Cyprus, which may have been behind his motivation to force the EgyptAir flight to divert to the island.
When the intense scene calmed, it was found that the man was bluffing. The belt that the EgyptAir hijacker was wearing, which sported wires and other bomb-like gadgets, turned out to be a fake. A four page letter in Arabic was found on the accused hijacker. Then, later that day, a woman thought to be the man’s wife showed up at the airport in Cyprus. The man’s motives were never definitively revealed.
Another incident, not involving EgyptAir, but occurring over Egyptian airspace, on October 31, involved a bomb detonation by a Russian passenger on board the Russian airline Kogalymavia.
Egypt’s tourism industry has suffered in recent history, and the current debacle with EgyptAir Flight MS804 will surely make things worse for the country’s private airline.
One of the obvious things that comes to mind anytime a plane is in danger, especially in the Middle East region, is that terrorist activity is to blame. While the officials at EgyptAir ensure that the Flight MS804 was in Egyptian airspace and near Cairo International Airport, most people still feel uneasy about this whole situation.
Upgrades to airport security have been made recently to combat the negativity brought onto the Egyptian tourism industry. Airport security has been funded with $1 billion to upgrade efficiency. Also, increased and more thorough checks are to be implemented.
Egypt’s tourism industry is likely to continue down a path of avoidance by many. Too many incidents have been linked to the country in too short of a time span.
Officials are currently searching for the lost EgyptAir Flight MS804 and everyone awaits the final verdict.
Hopefully, for the sake of Egypt’s tourism, EgyptAir Flight MS804 is found, although, at the incident’s current rate, it looks unlikely a happy ending will ensue.
(Image via Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock.com <a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-166267p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00″>Vytautas Kielaitis</a> / <a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00″>Shutterstock.com</a> )