EasyJet to return to Sharm el-Sheikh after travel ban lifted

EasyJet is resuming flights to Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the first time in nearly five years, following the lifting of travel restrictions to the area.

The airline said two flights a week would be launched from Manchester Airport from June 7, and flights from London Gatwick will commence on September 30. There will also be flights to nearby Hurghada.

UK airlines were banned from flying to the region following the bombing of a Russian plane soon after take-off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing all 224 people on board, in November 2015.

But in October last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) lifted restrictions due to “improvements in security procedures” and “close co-operation between our aviation security experts and their Egyptian counterparts”.

EasyJet’s decision comes two months after rival travel company TUI announced its own resumption of holidays to the region.

Smaller firms and travel agents have also relaunched services to Sharm el-Sheikh, which was previously one of the most popular destinations for British tourists keen for some sun.

Ali Gayward, UK country manager at easyJet, said: “We are looking forward to operating these flights this summer and adding them to an ever-growing range of great destinations for our customers.”

Stephen Turner, commercial director at Manchester Airport, said: “The return of easyJet’s route to Sharm el-Sheikh is very welcome and we are sure it will prove immensely popular with sunseekers all year round.”

EasyJet also announced that it will launch three new flights to Rome in Italy and twice-weekly flights to Menorca, starting in June.

The company added: “With Egypt proving popular in the North West, the airline is also extending its winter flights to Hurghada to operate year-round three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays, with the first flight departing on 1 June.”

Bosses said they expect to carry more than 37,000 passengers on the new routes in the first 12 months, serving almost five million passengers to and from the airport.

The closure of Sharm el-Sheikh to foreign flights in November 2015 had a major impact on several travel companies, who had pinned their hopes on the growing tourism trade to the region.

Monarch Airlines blamed the ban, in part, for its collapse in 2017, and tourists still intent on visiting the resort would previously have to travel to Hurghada and take a ferry.