Empty planes sent for Dutch tourists stuck in Egypt
Empty charter planes will be flying to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik on Sunday and Tuesday to pick up the Dutch tourists currently holidaying there. KLM has decided that people on the airline's flight to Amsterdam from Cairo will only be allowed hand luggage and that no suitcases will be loaded into the airplane's hold at the airport. Travel agencies TUI Nederland and Neckermann Travel also opted for this measure.
TUI Nederland currently has some 200 tourists holidaying in Sharm el-Sheikh. These holidaymakers will be returning to the Netherlands on two flights on Sunday and Tuesday, NOS reports. Neckermann has another 42 tourists at the resort, who may also return on Tuesday unless they booked a longer stay. "The seaside resort itself is safe", a spokesperson for Neckermann said to the broadcaster.
Both the empty charters and the hand-luggage only measures were implemented following the crash of Russian flight KGL9268 in Sinai on Saturday. 224 people were killed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advice to Egypt on Wednesday due to growing suspicions that the plane was brought down with an explosive.
A spokesperson for KLM told news wire ANP that the decision to allow only hand luggage on the flight from Cairo was made "after careful consideration and on the basis of national and international information". What will happen with the travelers' luggage "must be determined in consultation with the passengers. We must look for the best solution."
The two travel agencies also decided not to send new holidaymakers to Sharm el-Sheikh for the time being.