Wednesday 28 September 2016

Irish Aviation Authority directs Irish airlines to avoid Sinai Peninsula

Published 04/11/2015 | 19:26

Russian emergency services personnel working at the crash site of a A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat
Russian emergency services personnel working at the crash site of a A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat
Investigators probe the site of the crash
In this Russian Emergency Situations Ministry photo, made available on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 Russian Emergency employees collect personal belongings of a plane crash victims at the crash site of a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana, Egypt, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015

THE Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has directed Irish airlines to avoid the Sinai Peninsula, following the crash of a Russian plane there last weekend.

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In a brief statement issued this evening, it said:

"The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) directs Irish airline operators not to operate to/from Sharm el‐Sheikh Airport, Egypt or in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula airspace until further notice."

The announcement follows a similar move in the UK.

Flights from Sharm el-Sheikh to the UK are being suspended tonight amid fears that a Russian plane was brought down by a bomb, Downing Street has announced.

The "precautionary" move is to allow time for a specialist British team to assess security arrangements in the Egyptian resort.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said:

"While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed. But as more information has come to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.

"In light of this, and as a precautionary measure, we have decided that flights due to leave Sharm for the UK this evening will be delayed.

"That will allow time for a team of UK aviation experts, currently travelling to Sharm, to make an assessment of the security arrangements in place at the airport and to identify whether any further action is required. We expect this assessment to be completed tonight."

As we publish, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not changed its travel advice for Irish citizens.

"Irish citizens intending to fly into/out of Sharm el Sheikh should note the direction issued by the Irish Aviation Authority on 5 November to Irish airline operators not to operate to/from Sharm el Sheikh airport or in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula airspace until further notice," it says.

It does not recommend against travelling to the resort, but advises potential visitors to "exercise a high degree of caution and to avoid travelling outside the resort."

"Citizens should also be mindful of similar directions by other aviation authorities which may affect scheduled flights. Citizens with queries about flights should contact their tour operator or airline."

This story has been updated.

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