It has been announced that UK travel firm Thomas Cook has suspended its bookings to the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh up to and including Monday 31 October 2016. The current ban was due to end on 25 May
The tour operator said it has decided to extend its ban to the resort because the UK government’s advice not to travel to the area has remained unchanged. Flights were suspended to Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2015 after a Russian passenger crashed in central Sinai killing all 224 people onboard.
Thomas Cook has been selling holidays starting from 25 May in the assumption that the travel ban would be lifted. However, because the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) advice has remained unchanged, UK airlines are not allowed to fly to the region.
The FCO’s website states: “Terrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks in Egypt. Further attacks are likely,” and it advises against travel to Sharm el-Sheikh unless it is absolutely essential. That advice has implications not just for tour operators but for travel insurance too, as it will remain virtually impossible to obtain cover for travel to the region.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson said customers who have booked to travel to Sharm el-Sheikh can either cancel or book alternative holidays. “We appreciate that this may be frustrating for our customers who have been looking forward to their holiday and we would like to assure them that we are doing our upmost to ensure they are still able to enjoy a Thomas Cook holiday.”
The FCO website further stated: “We will continue working with the Egyptian Authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh to resume. We are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el-Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place.”