Debris found in search for missing EgyptAir MS804

Debris found in search for missing EgyptAir MS804

The Egyptian military has located debris from crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 in the Mediterranean.

Military units from Greece, France, Egypt and the UK have been scouring the Mediterranean near the Greek island of Karpathos following the disappearance of the flight yesterday.

The Airbus 320 had been en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board.

French President Francois Hollande said the plane likely crashed on route to the Egyptian capital.

Greece defence minister Panos Kammenos added it appeared the plane made two sharp turns before plunging into the Mediterranean Sea.

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He explained the plane “turned 90 degrees left and a 360-degree turn to the right” before it dropped more than 20,000 feet and disappeared from radar screens

No group has yes claimed it was behind its disappearance.

So far, no wreckage or debris from the aircraft has been found.

The focus in France is on whether a possible breach of security happened at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Of the people on board, 30 are believed to be Egyptians, while there are also 15 French and ten other nationalities, including one Briton.

The plane was flying at 37,000ft when it went missing over the eastern Mediterranean, ten miles from Egyptian airspace and half an hour from landing.

Greek aviation officials say air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot when he entered Greek airspace and everything appeared normal.

In a statement plane manufacturer Airbus said:  “The aircraft involved, registered under SU-GCC was MSN 2088, was delivered to EgyptAir from the production line in November 2003.

“The aircraft had accumulated approximately 48,000 flight hours.”

In line with ICAO annex 13, Airbus said is stood-by ready to provide full technical assistance to the French Investigation Agency - BEA - and to the authorities in charge of the investigation.

The first A320 entered service in March 1988.

At the end of April 2016 over 6,700 A320 Family aircraft were in operation worldwide.

To date, the entire fleet has accumulated nearly 180 million flight hours in over 98 million flights.

Egyptian Tourism

The incident is the latest setback for Egyptian tourism.

Kinda Chebib, senior analyst, Euromonitor International argued: “If we analyse tourist’s performance prior the political unrest in 2011 and recurring attacks by jihadist militants (such as Sinai), arrivals from key markets plummeted in 2011 and started gradually to recover until 2015.

“But those never achieved the performance from prior the events.

Egypt can restore its image when it comes to specific, location-limited events, but when we speak of such big proportion of security breach, and when international terrorists groups are involved in the frame of a larger geopolitical issue, there is no doubt that it will take a while for the Egyptian tourism and economy to get back on its feet.

“We can therefor speak of an impact on the mid- to long-term.

Despite the decline of 18 per cent in 2012-2013, 2014 was a good year for Egyptian tourism, inbound flows rose by eight per cent to reach 10.2 million arrivals, up from 9.5 million in 2013.

The UK is the second biggest source market for Egypt, with one million arrivals in terms on trips to the country in 2014, after Russia, which recorded in 2014 nearly three million arrivals. 

Chebib added: “Travellers are likely to remain very hesitant to travel to this part of the Middle East and will opt for destinations like the Gulf countries or in North Africa they are likely to choose Morocco, contrasting with more vulnerable destinations like Tunisia and Egypt. 

“Although Egypt is known for quickly bouncing back from different crises, we believe that the recent events will slow down the ambitions of the local government to achieve the target of 20 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2020.”