Russian Plane Crash: Some Flights to Resume From Sharm el-Sheikh

Two EasyJet flights took off Friday from Sharm el-Sheikh airport in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the UK, allowing stranded tourists to return home, the BBC reports. Seven more, however, were told they would not be permitted to land to pick up UK tourists by Egyptian authorities, citing difficulties in dealing with the amount of check-in baggage at the airport. 

The first Easyjet flight departed at 1:00 p.m. local time for Gatwick, with the second departing for Luton one hour later. Passengers on flights that were disrupted were sent back through security and told to return to their hotels, the BBC said. Monarch said five of its planes were currently on the way to pick up tourists from Sharm el-Sheikh, while British Airways said it did not expect its aircraft to be refused landing permission at the airport. Thomson said it would be flying nine flights out of the Sinai, and Thomas Cook said it would operate four. 

The UK government had cancelled flights to and from the area Wednesday after the UK government said it received intelligence indicating that a bomb may have brought down the Russian passenger plane that crashed last weekend, killing all 224 people onboard, the BBC said. British security officials who have assessed the Sharm el-Sheikh airport have put in place additional security measures for passengers, and only hand luggage will be allowed on the flights. Hold baggage will be transported later by the UK government. 

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According to Reuters, the UK and Egypt remain split on whether or not a bomb caused the plane to crash. The UK said it belives ISIS may have brought down the plane with a bomb, while Egypt said there was no evidence of an attack. An international team including investigators from Russia, France and Ireland is set to examine the wreckage in order to determine the cause of the crash. 

No U.S. airlines fly into or out of the Sinai Peninsula, according to NBC News. However, the crash could expose vulnerabilities in security measures at international airports where U.S. airlines operate, security analysts and members of Congress said. 

Update 11:06 a.m.: According to the New York Times, Russia has banned all flights from Russia to Egypt, which is the most popular destination for Russian tourism, until the cause of the crash can be established. Turkish Airlines has also cancelled all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh following a security assessment at the airport, and the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and France have cautioned their citizens to limit their travel to the area. 

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates to this developing story. 

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