British Airways flights to Cairo were suspended on Saturday for seven days as a “precaution” following a review of airport security.
The airline alerted passengers booked on flights from Heathrow, which it runs once per day, and released a statement announcing the decision.
“We constantly review our security arrangements at all our airports around the world, and have suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precaution to allow for further assessment,” BA said.
“The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we would never operate an aircraft unless it was safe to do so.”
A spokeswoman later told PA that customers who still wished to travel would be rebooked on flights with alternate airlines or offered a refund, but said BA could not immediately offer more information about the suspensions.
It is understood British Airways made the Department for Transport aware of its decision ahead of the announcement.
“We are aware that British Airways is notifying passengers that it has decided to suspend flights to Cairo temporarily,” a Government spokesman said.
Cairo Airport website’s arrivals page listed flight BA155 from London, due to arrive in Terminal 2 at 11.15pm local time, as cancelled.
The airline runs one flight to and one from the city per day.
Current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice on travel to Egypt warns against “all travel” to certain parts of the country.
Cairo is part of a safer region, where the FCO only suggests reviewing its advice before visiting.
Current advice also warns against “all but essential” travel by air to the resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, a once popular destination for British holidaymakers.
“An estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018,” according to the FCO website’s advice page, which before flights were suspended was last updated on Friday.
“Most visits are trouble free.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in North Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country.”
Some affected passengers used social media to share pictures which appeared to show a letter handed out by British Airways with a similar message about security.
One customer, Rasha, who asked to keep her surname private, told PA she was booked on a flight on July 25 but was alerted by text about the suspensions.
The IT worker, who is from Egypt and has lived with her family in Britain for six years, said she was supposed to meet her husband, children and other relatives.
“It’s just terrible,” she said. “It may seem like I’m just missing my flight for a holiday, but I really need to go.”
Reuters reported it was told by three Egyptian airport security sources that British staff were checking security at the airport on Wednesday and Thursday.
BA was also among several major carriers to announce in June they would reroute flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.
The move, also taken by Australia’s Qantas, Dutch carrier KLM, Emirates, Germany’s Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines, followed the downing of a US drone by Iran.