Germany lifts Sharm flight ban

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Germany lifts Sharm flight ban

Germany's Federal Aviation Office is to allow resumption of direct flights to the Red Sea diving resort of Sharm el Sheikh, after lifting a ban on checked luggage through its airport, the Egyptian foreign ministry has announced.

The ban had been in place since last November in response to the fatal crash of a Russian airliner after leaving the airport, for which ISIS terrorists claimed responsibility. The ministry stressed that the move did not mean that flights would automatically resume, as this would depend on German tour operators and visitors.

German tourists have in any case long favoured “Red Sea Riviera” towns such as Hurghada and Marsa Alam as much as the Sinai Peninsula resort of Sharm. Recent statistics indicate that while visitors to Egypt this March were down by as much as 47% year on year, the largest national bloc of tourists in that month was German.

In the first quarter of the year, Egypt’s tourism revenues were two-thirds down on those of 2015.

UK and Russian bans on flights into Sharm remain in place, but Germany’s move indicates movement in implementing more stringent security measures at Sharm International Airport.

“The decision came in implementation of the recommendation submitted by a German delegation of aviation experts that inspected security airport measures at Sharm el Sheikh airport,” said Badr Abdel Atty, Egypt’s ambassador to Germany, adding that it reflected Egypt’s “compliance to international airport security standards”.

“This is wonderful news for German tourists and for Egyptian tourism,” declared Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Yehia Rashed. “This will enable even more German tourists to visit our country and will be very welcome news for Sharm el Sheikh… I very much look forward to other countries following the German lead.”

13-May-16

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