WORRIED Lancashire families are cancelling trips to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt amidst flights being halted due to security fears.
Many others were stranded in the Middle East last night after the British government suspended air links following an emergency meeting.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who held a conference with Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi yesterday, said they had no choice but to act after intelligence suggested a Russian Airbus 321 which crashed in Egypt’s Sinai desert on Saturday may have been brought down by a bomb. All 224 passengers were killed.
Holidaymakers in Egypt have not been told when they will be able to get a flight back to the UK. Holiday firm Thomson runs a regular route to the destination from Manchester.
Chorley comedian and former Phoenix Nights actor Steve Royle is due to fly out to the area a week on Sunday and admits his family are begging him to cancel the trip.
He said: “I love going out to Sharm, it’s a lovely place with lovely people but my wife and kids are very worried and don’t want me to go. I don’t want to give in to terrorism, if that’s what it is, otherwise it’s them that’s winning. I’m meant to be out there for three days for one gig and I hate letting people down so if it was up to me I’d be going.”
And some other families share Steve’s family’s views and have cancelled or changed their flights to the popular holiday destination, according to Nick Stagg-Andrew from Preston Travel Centre.
The travel advisor from the Blackpool Road branch said: “I’m heading out to Sharm at the end of November but I’m not worried at all. We’ve had some flights cancelled and some people ringing up to re-arrange but we’ve got no-one currently out there. This kind of thing does happen and we understand people are scared but the flight ban at the moment is only until November 12 and there’s no problem with Sharm itself just the air space.”
And senior travel consultant Becky Humphries, from Sunseekers in Blackpool, agrees but says it has a big impact in the long run. The Victoria Road travel agents has also seen cancellations and changes to flights to Egypt.
Becky said: “When these things happen it stops people booking in the future. We’ve not had as many bookings as last year which is probably the reason this scare hasn’t had too much of an effect on us. Saying that, we’ve still had some cancellations because people don’t want to take the risk.”
• Have you been caught up in the chaos in Egypt? Call reporter Mark White on 01772 838107.