British Airways suspends Cairo flights over security fears

July 22, 2019
British Airways
Photo: Janusz Reclaw/Wikimedia Commons

British Airways and Lufthansa abruptly suspended all flights to Cairo on Saturday over security concerns, with BA telling passengers at a departure gate that their flight was canceled.

The UK airline, which suspended flights for a week, did not detail the security concerns and said it was its policy not to do so.

“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,” it said in a statement.

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Lufthansa said it had temporarily suspended its flights for a day as a precaution because safety “is the number one priority of Lufthansa”.

In an updated advisory, the UK government’s travel advice site noted the British Airways decision and referred passengers to the airline.

It site said an estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018 and most visits were trouble-free.

But it noted there was a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation and additional security measures were in place for flights departing Egypt for the UK.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt,” it said.

“Although most attacks occur in North Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, affecting Egyptian security forces, religious sites, large public gatherings and places visited by foreigners.”

A Recently updated US travel advisory also urged its citizens to consider the risks of travel to Egypt “due to threats from terrorist and violently political opposition groups”.

“Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR),” it said.

The UK is advising against all but essential travel to a number of areas.

They include travel:

  • by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.
  • to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh (as shown on the map).
  • to the Governorate of South Sinai, except the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq.