British Airways Suspends Cairo Flights Over Security

Filed Under: British Airways

Update: British Airways has now resumed flights to Cairo.

We’ll have to see how this unfolds, but it certainly sounds like it could be bad news.

British Airways has canceled all flights to Cairo for the next week as a security precaution.

Cairo Airport exterior

A Cairo Airport spokesperson has said that they haven’t been notified of such changes by British Airways, while an airline spokesperson said the following:

“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.”

The UK government does warn the following on their website:

“There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. Additional security measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK.”

British Airways flies the 787 to Cairo

Interestingly as of now only British Airways has canceled their flights. EgyptAir flights to & from the UK seem to be operating as usual.

It will be interesting to see if any other airlines change their policies. Could we see other foreign airlines cancel flights to Egypt, or could we see EgyptAir be forced to cancel flights to the UK? Is British Airways doing this as a precaution due to a specific threat/intelligence, or…?

Egypt has had a fair number of aviation incidents over the years. For example, in 2015 a Russian charter plane operating a flight from Sharm El Sheikh to St. Petersburg was blown up shortly after takeoff, and that caused 224 fatalities.

In 2017 we also saw an electronics ban instituted for a limited period on flights from select countries to the US and UK, and Egypt was among those countries. While electronics are once again allowed in the cabin of planes, there are increased security checks prior to departure.

I’ll be watching this closely, as I’m scheduled to travel through Cairo soon, flying EgyptAir’s new 787 business class from Washington Dulles…

  1. I just flew EgyptAir out of Cairo and I’ve never been through so much security. Interesting enough, EgyptAir’s CEO and his wife were on the plane seated in front of us.

  2. There will be a specific security threat that BA is responding to.

    In that region it’s anyway worth keeping one eye on the general situation with US-Iran relations (in which the UK has become ensnared as a US proxy, in the battle over shipping). Things look like they could deteriorate fairly rapidly.

    Which is annoying for me since I’m supposed to be in Qatar in September.

  3. Interesting. My husband is a Virtuoso-affiliated travel consultant and recently told me that after years of no one wanting to go to Egypt – because of security concerns – suddenly there has been a huge surge in bookings. Abercrombie & Kent have reported the same. Trying to get a room at the Winter Palace in Luxor and the Old Cataract in Aswan – even six months out – is a real struggle.

  4. This is troubling. Especially with Lufthansa now canceling flights as well. I would expect that most airlines will follow.

    Iran is known for not retaliating conventionally if lives will be taken. They will use their networks around the world to do it for them. This way they get their point across without direct military to military confrontation. You can bet they are preparing this network now. And it’s not just in Egypt or Yemen or Europe. They have a huge footprint ready to go in South America as an example.

    I am afraid this is only going to get worse. Trump is a poor chess player, The UK is in transition, and France and Germany are caught in the middle trying to negotiate without support.

    Russia is only going to encourage this conflict further so they get rich with oil price surges and more European dependency. China will just sit back and watch other economies tank in the process.

    Flights to Cairo are the least of worries going forward.

  5. This is incredibly troubling, because BA actually has an excellent internally-based corporate security operation. In fact, one might argue that’s the reason they haven’t been attacked since Dawson’s Field nearly half a century ago.

    In addition they tend to be much less afraid than US carriers of opening/maintaining routes to risky locales, since they have the experienced security operation as described above…

    If BA have suddenly suspended flights, there is a specific and very real threat they are responding to, otherwise they simply wouldn’t do this. Cairo is a lucrative route for them as well.

    I expect Cairo will be problematic for the next several months….

  6. We are planning on our travel to Egypt in coming Oct. This is our third attempt to visit Egypt. I hope we could get there this time.

  7. This story perfectly shows how the press view British Airways and how they are constantly smacked down. This has nothing to do with Lucky or OMAAT. A notification came up on my phone saying British Airways cancels all flights to Cairo. This story was from the New York times and after I opened it I found out that Lufthansa had also cancelled flights, but that wasn’t included in the headline. At first it just seemed to be another media outlet taking yet another dig at BA.

  8. Lufthansa seems to have backtracked and only canceled flights today. Unless I am missing something.

  9. Not sure how credible this is because I can’t find news reports about it, but someone who lives in Egypt told me the decision came after a group of visiting fans for the African Cup of Nations vandalized the airport.

  10. I am wondering if the security issue is the Iran /UK problem surrounding the British vessel ( Stena ) that was abducted in the Straits or Hormuz , in retaliation for the Gibraltar arrested Iranian vessel going to Syria.
    The BA flight path from London to Cairo is very near to the British airbase at Akrotiri in Cyprus and this base has fighter aircraft . They have been used to bomb Syria in the past with little publicity .
    Being a British airline ,perhaps BA feel they are at risk .
    Other airlines may not be ?

  11. The security that is visible is very tight, giving the impression that it’s well-managed. The problem is the unseen: the issue with the Russian crash ex Sharm El-S was access to the luggage area, IIRC. The final report on that crash has taken forever.
    I’ve stopped going through Cairo..not for security concerns but rather the fact that Qatar got kicked out. Those cheap QR J tickets are sorely missed.

  12. @Paolo them QR tix were insanely good value until they stopped flying to Cairo.
    Cheap J tickets out of CAI could soon be R.I.P..
    Back 2 years ago I flew CAI-LHR-SEA-HNL with BA and AS return for $2400AUD and redeemed the AS miles to later fly CX from Aus to HKG
    Once I was back In Cairo I went down to Cape Town with ET for I think $1200aud.
    Then flew another super cheap flight to BKK again from Cairo

  13. I was in MUC last night and noticed the LH flight to CAI was cancelled just about an hour before scheduled departure.

  14. BA normally operate this route with a mid-haul A321, this week it was due to be subbed by a 789 but also by a A21N, the latter being one of the most hated planes in the BA fleet with Euro config throughout That means 30 inch pitch max in business with a blocked middle seat and 28 inch pitch further back. It would not have been popular.

    I’m of course never cynical about BA and their many problems but they are short of 787s and the A21N would have created the most almighty outrage had it been used.

    They were lucky to have a security issue that caused Lufthansa to suspend services for less than 24 hours and no other airline to suspend anything at all lasting them the whole week of their fleet shortage.

  15. 787 seems to be the plane typically used on the route, actually. I was on a flight to CAI a few days ago and lots of passengers were mad as it was originally a 787 and was subbed fairly late to an A321 NEO. No IFE, no hot meals, no recline (at all)…. was an interesting flight over.

  16. What will BA do for the passengers who already have tickets and the flights was canceled!?

  17. We were in Egypt in March. The security personnel at CAI are incredibly corrupt. My husband’s backpack was searched at the entrance security and he was not let through because of his camera – a nice digital SLR – until we figured out we needed to give the scanner a bribe.

  18. @Suzanne Stipek: Herodotus complained about Egyptian bribery in the 5th-century B.C. (Some things never change!)

  19. @Phil Duncan

    Are you seriously intimating that BA has orchestrated the whole thing because of the 787 shortage and the unpopularity of the A21N?


  20. British Airways would not accept to take such a commercial hit in cancelling so many flights to Cairo if it were not for relevant security reasons.
    Same with Lufthansa although not as many flights cancellations to Cairo.

  21. Interesting. My husband is a Signature Travel Network -affiliated travel consultant and recently told me that after years of no one wanting to go to Egypt – because of security concerns – suddenly there has been a huge surge in bookings. Abercrombie & Kent have reported the same. Trying to get a room at the Winter Palace in Luxor and the Old Cataract in Aswan – even six months out – is a real struggle.

  22. @Mark3

    Care to explain why you copied my reply (posted yesterday) word-for-word, only changing “Virtuoso” to “Signature Travel Network”?

  23. “after years of no one wanting to go to Egypt – because of security concerns – suddenly there has been a huge surge in bookings”
    A surge in bookings coming probably from Saudi Arabia or UAE ‘wealthy tourists staying in high end hotels like the Old Cataract in Aswan.

  24. @Caroline

    Actually, the surge in bookings is from hyper-security conscious Americans, which is what makes it interesting.

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