Efforts to fly home thousands of British holidaymakers stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh were thrown into disarray after an airline announced its flights had been suspended by Egyptian authorities.
The first Britons were due to start flying home from the Red Sea resort this morning, after the UK Government grounded flights on Wednesday evening amid security fears.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it was hoped to clear most of the backlog of passengers by the end of the day.
But airline easyJet announced that departures were being blocked by the Egyptian authorities, with discussions taking place "at the highest political level" to try to resolve the situation.
The airline said in a statement: "We're sorry to inform passengers that our rescue plans that were put in place yesterday have been suspended by the Egyptian authorities.
"Discussions are currently on-going at the highest political level to resolve this situation. We are very sorry and understand that this is extremely frustrating for our passengers - unfortunately the situation is outside of easyJet's control."