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First British flight arrives in Egyptian resort city after 4-year ban

Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday received the first British flight, after Britain lifted a four-year ban on flights to the Red Sea resort, Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry announced.

The ministry said in a statement that the first direct British flight, with 110 passengers onboard, departed from Birmingham, London.

In October, the British Embassy in Cairo announced that the British government had removed its advisory against flying to Sharm el-Sheikh.

The ban had been in place after an Islamic State bombing brought down a Russian passenger plane in October 2015, leaving 224 dead.

Russia, another major source of tourists to Egypt, initially suspended all direct flights to Egypt following the attack. It resumed direct flights to Cairo last year but direct flights to popular Red Sea resorts have yet to be resumed.

The Egyptian airports apply all the international security measures and safety standards, and are working to improve services for customers, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Younis al-Masry said in a statement on Thursday.

Al-Masry added that the ministry is keen to cooperate with other agencies to increase inbound and outbound travel, noting that “the aviation sector is one of the most important sectors contributing to the national economy.”

Tourism is a main source of income for Egypt. It created 13 billion U.S. dollars’ revenues in 2010 alone, when some 14.7 million tourists visited the country.

After years of recession, the tourism sector has been recovering, earning about 12.6 billion dollars in the fiscal year 2018/2019, compared with 9.8 billion dollars in the previous fiscal year, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.

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