British government officials have lifted restrictions on flights to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.

The decision reverses a ban imposed in 2015 following the bombing of a Russian airliner.

The incident, which saw the loss of 224 lives, with linked to the Islamic State group.

Egyptian officials have admitted the airport fell well short of international security standards.

However, there have been major improvements since, the UK department of transport argued.

This move is the first step in the resumption of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, which is a popular destination for UK holidaymakers.

Grant Shapps, secretary of state for transport, said: “We look forward to services to Sharm El-Sheikh resuming, and lifting the restriction is the first step in that process.

“The safety and security of British nationals remains our top priority and this decision follows close co-operation between our aviation security experts and their Egyptian counterparts, and improvements in security procedures at the airport.”

An estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018.

Most visits are trouble free, according to the Foreign & Commonwealth, which has also updated its advice on travel the country.

While the FCO is no long advising against “all but essential” travel by air to the resort destination, it argues “there remains a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation in Egypt”.

In response to the move, TUI said it would reintroduce Sharm el-Sheikh flights following the decision, “taking into account customer demand”.

easyJet said it would “look at any opportunities” as a result of the lifting of the restriction, while ABTA said the decision was “welcome news” for its members.

Terror

Terrorists linked to Islamic State brought down a plane on its way to St Petersburg on October 31st, 2015.

The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia, was struck by a bomb over the Sinai peninsula soon after take-off.

After the UK government suspended flights to the Red Sea resort, more than 16,000 Britons stranded in the area were brought home on rescue flights amid increased security.

According to the Foreign Office, 900,000 UK visitors travelled to the beach resort in 2015, but that number dropped to 231,000 in 2016 after the ban on direct flights.

UK holidaymakers heading to Sharm el-Sheikh were forced either to take multiple flights or book a place on a ferry from the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

UK government lifts Sharm El-Sheikh flight restrictions | News

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