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Sharm el-Sheikh ban 'for good reasons': UK transport secretary

UK transport secretary Chris Grayling has not given any firm indication as to when the government will lift restrictions on operations to Sharm el-Sheikh airport.

The UK ban on flights was imposed almost two years ago over suspicions that sabotage had brought down a Russian-operated Airbus A321 shortly after departing the Egyptian resort.

Labour party member Stephen Timms queried the reason for the continuing ban during a parliamentary session on 9 October.

He said that it had been a contributing factor to the collapse of Monarch Airlines, which had operated the Sharm el-Sheikh route.

Timms told Grayling that Egyptian authorities, with UK support, had "gone to enormous lengths" to improve security at the airport, and claimed similar bans by other European countries had been lifted.

Grayling said that the government had "looked exhaustively" at the issues regarding Sharm el-Sheikh.

"We have not yet taken the decision to resume flying there," he stated. "I would love us to be able to take it, but we have to be mindful of the security concerns and the risks to the travelling public of the UK."

He added that the government was holding off "only for good security reasons", but did not elaborate. "As soon as we feel that we can take that step [to lift the ban], we will," he said.

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