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Germany resumes flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, warns citizens against non-essential travel

Germany’s Transport Ministry agreed on Tuesday to resume flights to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, lifting a six-month ban on flights following the downing of a Russian plane that killed all 224 people on board in late October 2015.

Germany’s Transport Ministry made the decision after receiving security clearance from civil aviation authorities, according to a statement published by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

German, Irish, British and Russian airlines, among others, banned all direct flights to the Red Sea resort town in November 2015, after Russian investigators claimed an explosive device was planted on the Metrojet passenger plane while it was grounded at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport. 

Egyptian Ambassador to Berlin, Badr Abdel Aaty, said the decision is “a reflection of Egypt’s full commitment to upholding international standards for airport security.” Germany authorities have proven dedicated to enhancing bilateral relations and supporting Egypt’s tourism industry, he added. 

“It should be noted that around 170,000 German tourists have visited Egypt in the first three months of this year, with Hurghada and Marsa Alam being top tourist destinations,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry stated. 

The lifting of the flight ban has, however, been accompanied by a number of travel warnings for tourists planning on visiting Sharm el-Sheikh.

On May 8, the German Embassy in Cairo warned against all non-essential travel to Northern Sinai or to areas along the Egyptian-Israeli border, and advised German nationals not to travel through the Sinai Peninsula by land.

Egypt’s state-managed Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported a 47.2% decline in the number of tourists to Egypt in March 2016, in comparison to the same month last year.

This decline has led to thousands of jobs being lost in the tourism sector, and the associated decline of hard foreign currency in circulation within Egypt.