Foreign Office charters second Egypt flight

Foreign Office charters second Egypt flight

British citizens in Egypt are to be offered a second repatriation flight on Saturday as many continue to look for a route out of the country.


A first flight – carrying more than 200 passengers – flew from Cairo to London on Thursday.

The cost of tickets – some £300 – had been criticised by some. However, Downing Street has stressed the ticket price will not cover the cost of chartering the flight “by any means”.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman explained the government did not want to undermine commercial airlines operating flights in and out of Egypt by offering free tickets.

“It is very important that we maintain commercial flights in and out of Egypt, so we do not want to be in a position where we are providing flights at no cost, because that would undercut commercial airlines,” he added.

British holidaymakers are advised to head to Cairo airport where embassy staff are providing 24-hour assistance in Terminals 1 and 3.

On the Ground

The situation in Egypt has continued to deteriorate over the past 24-hours, with pro- and anti-Mubarak protestors clashing in Tahrir Square.

Egypt’s Health Minister Ahmed Samih Farid said five people were killed on Wednesday, with hundreds injured.

The army moved into the square this morning to separate the two factions, with a measure of calm restored.

Newly appointed prime minister Ahmed Shafiq pledged to investigate the violence, calling it a “fatal error”.

Following the latest violence prime minister Cameron joined his French, German, Italian and Spanish counterparts in expressing his concern.

“We are watching with utmost concern the deteriorating situation in Egypt,” the statement said.

“The Egyptian people must be able to exercise freely their right to peaceful assembly, and enjoy the full protection of the security forces.

“Attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable.

“We condemn all those who use or encourage violence, which will only aggravate the political crisis in Egypt. Only a quick and orderly transition to a broad-based government will make it possible to overcome the challenges Egypt is now facing.

“That transition process must start now.”

Cairo

About 3,000 Britons are believed to be in Cairo at present, with a further 300 in Alexandria.

The vast majority – believed to be some 30,000 - were in Red Sea resorts which remained “calm”, the Foreign Office said.

As many as 1,000 Britons have left the country in the last 24-hours.