British Airways has suspended it’s daily flight between London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Cairo (CAI) for seven days due to an unspecified security reason. In a short statement posted to the airline’s website, British Airways said it constantly reviews security arrangements at airports around the world and had “suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precaution to allow for further assessment.”
The airline did not immediately detail what further assessment would be carried out or if the suspension was related to a specific threat or incident. British Airways currently only serves Egypt with a once-daily flight to Cairo and it is not known whether the security precautions could impact other airports across Egypt should other airlines follow suit.
Lufthansa is reported to have followed British Airways this evening but as it stands, other major airlines are continuing to serve Cairo with the likes of Air France, Emirates and Etihad still operating flights to the Egyptian capital without interruption. Egyptair flights to Cairo from London’s Heathrow also continue to operate and it’s undertood that BA are rebooking some of its passengers onto these flights.
The last-minute decision by British Airways to suspend its daily service to Cairo is said to have been made so late on Saturday afternoon that many passengers due to travel on flight BA155 that normally departs Heathrow airport at around 5 pm was already at the airport and had to be turned away.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office warns in its travel advice for Egypt of a “heightened risk of terrorism against aviation”. The advice continues:
“Terrorists in Egypt likely maintain the intent and capability to target aviation.
The greatest threat is on the Sinai Peninsula where Daesh operate with greater freedom, but terrorists are active in Mainland Egypt, including Cairo.
You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports and observe any additional security measures.”
In January, British officials lifted a ban on laptops and other large electronic devices being carried in the aircraft cabin by passengers from six countries including Egypt. The measures were put in place in 2017 following concerns about security arrangements and processes.
It’s believed that 224 people were killed in the 2015 downing of a Metrojet plane that had departed Sharm el-Sheikh airport after an explosive device was smuggled onboard after terrorists successfully evaded airport security.