Egypt’s aviation minister has expressed his dismay over British Airways’ decision to suspend flights to and from Cairo for a week.
BA had suddenly announced on Saturday that it would temporarily stop serving the Egyptian capital’s airport as a “security precaution”.
Aviation minister Younis al Masry met British ambassador Geoffrey Adams on Sunday and “expressed his displeasure at British Airways taking a decision unilaterally concerning the security of Egyptian airports without referring to the competent Egyptian authorities”.
A statement went on to say that Mr Adams had apologised for not informing them before the decision was made – and cited him as saying the move was not related to the security measures at Egyptian airports.
The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment.
British Airways, aside from Egypt Air, is the only operator that flies directly to Cairo from the UK.
Germany’s biggest airline, Lufthansa, briefly followed suit in suspending flights to Cairo, but their services resumed on Sunday.
Air France, Emirates and Etihad Airways have continued to operate flights as usual.
On Saturday, BA said: “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.
“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 refused to give any further details about the decision and said: “We never discuss matters of security.
“We are rebooking customers who wish to travel this week on flights with alternative airlines.
“Customers who no longer wish to travel will be offered a refund.”
It is understood BA made the Department for Transport aware of its decision before it made the announcement.
A government spokesman said: “We are aware that British Airways is notifying passengers that it has decided to suspend flights to Cairo temporarily.”
BA’s cancellations left passengers at Heathrow frustrated – and those stranded in Cairo confused and concerned.
Khalid Keshta told Sky News it was having “a big impact” on his job and business.
He said: “I’ve been in Egypt for about two weeks and everything has been delayed because of this. And I’m not quite sure when I’m going to back now.”
Ayman Omar, also stuck in Egypt, accused BA of not providing sufficient information.
He said: “It’s just caused us a big inconvenience and we’d like more information as soon as possible, just give us anything about when we’re going to get home, how we’re going to get home.”
The Foreign Office’s current advice warns against “all but essential” travel by air to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh.
That advice followed the bombing of a Russian airline which was brought down in 2015 shortly after leaving the Red Sea resort, killing 224 people.
But Cairo is part of a safer region, where the Foreign Office only suggests reviewing its advice before visiting.