British tourists have arrived on one of the first flights from the UK to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh since restrictions were lifted.
Flights between Britain and Sharm el-Sheikh were halted in November 2015, following the bombing of a Russian airliner soon after take-off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, which killed all 224 people on board.
A TUI flight from Gatwick was greeted with celebrations after landing on Sunday. A passenger said the flight was met by fire engines jetting water over the top of the aircraft, before a reception featuring flowers, music and cocktails with local dignitaries.
TUI, the UK’s biggest travel company, announced last year it would resume flights this month.
It came after the Department for Transport lifted restrictions in October due to “improvements in security procedures” and “close co-operation between our aviation security experts and their Egyptian counterparts”.
TUI was believed to be the first major travel company to announce when it would resume flights.
Hundreds of thousands of British tourists went to the Red Sea destination each year before the ban on flights was introduced.
The measure sparked a steep decline in UK visitors, as it forced them to either take multiple flights or a ferry from Hurghada. It was one of the factors which led to the collapse of the airline Monarch in October 2017.
In January, it was announced Easyjet would also resume flights to the resort. The airline said two flights a week would be launched from Manchester from 7 June, and flights from Gatwick would begin on 30 September.
Smaller firms and travel agents have also relaunched services to Sharm el-Sheikh.
The destruction of Metrojet flight 9628 on 31 October 2015 killed 224 people, mainly Russian holidaymakers. Tens of thousands of Russian, German and British tourists were still in the resort and were brought home on specially approved flights carrying only hand luggage during the subsequent security operation.
Germany lifted its flight ban the following year but Britain has only permitted flights to other Egyptian airports until now.
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