Egyptian Chronicles: Regarding Sharm El-Sheikh’s flights suspension

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Regarding Sharm El-Sheikh’s flights suspension

Hours  following the arrival of the Egyptian President to London , the British Government surprised the whole world and Egypt by issuing a warning to its citizens about air flights to Sharm El-Sheikh Russian airliner crash.
The Mirror Front page on Thursday 
after the
According to the statement issued by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth office , “it is advised against all but essential travel by air to Sharm El-Sheikh “ as according to the information the British government got from a range of sources concerning “ The Russian airliner crash”  , there is a significant possibility that crash was caused by an explosive device on board the aircraft.

Britain is also going to send a team to check the security measures in Sharm El-sheikh airport.

And the words “caused by an explosive device on board of the aircraft” were used by foreign government officials finally !!!!!!

This statement does not advise against the travel to Egypt nor to Sinai or Sharm El-Sheikh in general, it only advised against the travel by air which is the only way for Most British people to reach to Sharm El-Sheikh.

Now personally, I know it is a strange thing because officially UK is not part of the investigations led by Egypt and the investigations have not finished yet when it comes to the Black Box.

Egypt is leading the investigations along with Russia “Kogalymavia is a Russian airliner and most of the passengers are Russians”, France “ Because the Plane was an Airbus A-321” and Ireland “The Plane was owned by an Irish company and was leased to the Russian airliner, it is also registered in Ireland”.

Things escalated rapidly when CNN quoted unnamed U.S intelligence officials saying that the intelligence they had suggested that ISIS planted a bomb on the board of the Plane.

The U.S news channels were reporting about this possibility from an early time.
On Sunday, CBS News reported that a “U.S. infrared satellite detected a heat flash over the Sinai at the time the Russian plane went down.” The report was clear that the “The data is still being analyzed in an effort to determine what caused the flash. One possibility is a bomb, but an explosion in a fuel tank or engine as the result of a mechanical failure is also possible.”

It is worth to mention that Islamic State-affiliated/Sinai based-Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis "Sinai province" claimed responsibility for downing the plane without giving any details on how they did it.

US officials told  U.S-based ABC news that they intercepted extremists communications about the airliner crash.

Almost all the British newspapers except maybe two spoke about the travel warning to Sharm in its Front Page for their Thursday issue.
This is what people in UK read today 
The British newspapers had one question in its mind about the fate of the current thousands of British tourists in Sharm El-Sheikh and how they would return home.

Hours later on Thursday the British airlines stated that would start to bring back the tourists home.
The tourists will return back home with handbags on the board of the plane without luggage and I do not know what the hell is that !?

Daily Mail did not waste a time in publishing reports on how bad the security measures at Sharm El-Sheikh airport and how nearly 20,000 British tourists are stuck in the most important city in South Sinai.

I do not need to say that this is another blow to tourism in Egypt and in Sharm El-Sheikh even more devastating than the decision of international airlines like Lufthansa, Air France, Emirates and Qatar airways to avoid Sinai’s air space after the crash of the Russian airliner carrying at least 224 on its borders on Saturday.

Thomas Cook already announced  “ The latest travel update and reason for flights being suspended was not because of a security danger in the resort but due to airport security protocols. The FCO advised us to temporarily suspend flights and they will start as soon as the security review is finished.” in a statement issued on Thursday.

Officially and unofficially I would say, the Egyptian administration was caught in surprise.
Egypt’s Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry stated hours later that the decision of British government was taken “unilaterally without consulting with Egypt”. U.S secretary of state John Kerry also called his Egyptian counterpart and told him  that the media report about the Russian airplane did not represent the American administration officially.

Commenting on the British decision to halt air travel to and from Sharm-El-Sheikh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs...
Posted by ‎الصفحة الرسمية لوزارة الخارجية المصرية‎ on Thursday, November 5, 2015
The British FM answered back and said in a media statement that Shoukry did not have access of the information the British government got and made it take this decision.

Nevertheless on Thursday, during the joint press conference at 10 Downing street with the British Prime minister, President El-Sisi said that Egypt was ready to cooperate with any country in the world regarding the safety of the tourists.
Sisi and Cameron today at 10 Downing street "Reuters"
He also revealed that from months ago Egypt revised the security measures in Sharm El-Sheikh airport by an official British request.

The British decision was met by huge anger when it comes to Pro-Sisi supporters. Since Thursday morning, the “Britian_maker_of_terrorism” and #Cameron hashtags in Arabic has been active in ann unfriendly way thanks to Pro-Sisi supporters.

Also as both Britain and UK are not a direct part of the investigation so they won’t have access to the information, Pro-Sisi supporters have this conspiracy theory that UK and USA are behind the crash.

Already the decision is catching more attention and more news coverage than Sisi’s visit to London.
Ironically, this is the first visit for an Egyptian president to London since 2002. And it is overshadowed by the Russian plan.

Back to Sharm El-Sheikh , thousands of British tourists are stranded with hundreds of them waiting at the airport to return home.

They won’t be alone as they are going to be joined with tourists from Germany , France and Belgium
Thanks to the Guardian and Reuters , we know that Sharm El-Sheikh airport manager was promoted or rather transferred to another place.

Egyptian officials told US-based ABC channel that the Egyptian General Intelligence questioned all the employees of Sharm El-Sheikh airport about their movements before and after the crash.

A trivial info : Sharm El-Sheikh governor is El-Sisi’s in-law
Moving to Moscow , the Russians slam politely UK for its decision. God knows I feel that we are stuck in some sort of a cold war game more than a war on terrorism game.
Nevertheless, I respect how the British government care for its citizens and their safety.
All I can I say now is that tourism will be affected badly in Egypt in the Fall/Winter 2015/2016 over what happened this week.


  1. Given that a definitive answer will be arrived at when the flight data recorders are analysed and when the physical remains of the aeroplane are analysed, I doubt whether the British government would go out on a limb without strong evidence.

  2. Security has to stepped up, that goes for each employee at Egyptian Airports. I read, UK travelers , noted Sharm Airport employees sleeping, playing computer games, on cell phones eating dinner and waving people on.
    Thanks for your reporting and commentary.

  3. Russia - German

  4. All the small "Bashas" at Sharm will be in deep trouble now explaining themselves to the Bashas of State Security and General Intelligence.

  5. Mabrook tagdeed el site :)

  6. I agree with you Nadia. Egyptian govt. must stop being the only lone wolf out there, holding back when the countries of France, the UK and U.S. (who would not have reported this, had they not been sure it was a planted bomb) in the cargo hold. The characteristics of the break up shows the stress of the plane's load according to the best engineers, plus the fact they have the Intelligence proves rather conclusively that it was a bomb. If the Govt. of Egypt would stop denying and instead tell the world, and in particular the tourist trade like Russia, UK and (use to be the US) instead, they are beefing up and changing things and then outline what they are doing differently, perhaps they'd come back in droves.

    Everyone loves Egypt and Egyptians, but no one trusts the Govt.

  7. Military leaders in Egypt such as Mubarak and now Sisi, have a history of denial when it comes to reasons for the plane crashes that kill many:

    At the time in 2000, Egypt asked the U.S. to investigate and when they came to their conclusions with thorough FBI insight, intelligence background checks, and plain common sense for sending away the other pilots, they STILL denied the facts in front of them with more denial.

    Same thing here thus far today all these years later.

    So sad for the people now who have to suffer economically because of it.


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