Tourists warned not to travel to Egypt

The site where the Russian Airbus crashed in Egypt last week, killing all 224 people on board.
The site where the Russian Airbus crashed in Egypt last week, killing all 224 people on board.

The Irish Department for Foreign Affairs (DFA) are advising against all but essential travel to and from Egypt.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office are also advising against all but essential travel by air to and from Sharm el-Sheikh airport on the Sinai Peninsula.

The warnings come after the British government described the theory that an explosive device on board Russian Airbus 321 caused the plane to crash and kill everyone on board as “significant possibility”.

The DFA website said: “Irish citizens are advised to avoid-non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to a heightened threat of terrorist incidents, including targeted attacks against foreigners, and a continuing threat of civil unrest.”

It said the following exceptions apply: “The Red Sea coastal resort of Hurghada and other Red Sea resorts outside the Sinai peninsula, where Irish citizens are advised to arrive and depart by air and to strictly avoid travelling outside the resort; and Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel (including cruises between them) where Irish citizens are advised to exercise caution and arrive and depart by air.”

The Irish Aviation Authority has also directed Irish airlines not to fly to or from the area until further notice.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the flight freeze would allow the British investigators to ensure “the right security measures are in place”.

“We can not categorically say why the Russian jet crashed but we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down as a result of an explosive device,” he said.

Travel agent Thomas Cook has cancelled all holidays to Sharm el-Sheik in the wake of the disaster.

A statement from Thomas Cook said: “The health and safety of our customers and staff is our absolute priority, and we will be seeking to bring all 1,700 customers currently in resort back to the UK in due course.

“Given that no UK flights will be operating in or out of Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday November 5, we have made arrangements for any customers due to return home today to remain in their accommodation free of charge.

“Our team in destination are dedicated to ensuring that all customers are as comfortable as possible until such a time as they fly home.”

Thomas Cook is offering customers due to travel to Sharm el-Sheikh up to and including Thursday November 12 the opportunity to cancel or re-book their holiday free of charge, offering a £25 discount per person on the alternative holiday booked. Booking conditions are as normal for travel after that date, pending further FCO advice.

Any customers wishing to amend or cancel their booking should visit their local Thomas Cook or The Co-operative Travel store or call the dedicated customer hotline, 01733 224536.