Egypt resumes flights between Sharm El Sheikh and Luxor after five-year hiatus

The resumption of flights between the two tourist hot spots is an indicator that Egypt's tourism sector is on the rise after being hit hard by Covid-19

Luxor, Egypt: EgyptAir flight coming from Sharm El Sheikh lands in Luxor for the first time since 2015 when internal flights between the two cities were halted amid reduced demand. Photo: Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities
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Internal flights between the Egypt's Red Sea city of Sharm El Sheikh and its pharaonic city of Luxor resumed on Wednesday after being halted for the past six years.

According to a joint statement from the ministries of tourism and civil aviation, flights between the two cities had been halted since 2015 owing to reduced demand. However, in a bid to connect the country’s beach tourism with its cultural tourism, the first flight between the cities landed in Luxor on Wednesday morning.

Tourists visit the Colossi of Memnon, the ruins of two stone statues that guarded the mortuary temple built for Pharaoh Amenhotep III, in Luxor, Egypt November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

To start with, there will be only one weekly flight between the two cities, which are two of Egypt’s most popular tourist destinations.

The price for the flight has been fixed at 1,800 Egyptian pounds ($114), according to the joint statement.

The resumption of the flight is a good indicator that the country’s tourism sector, which was hit hard by the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders, is back on the rise.

Last August, flights carrying Russian tourists returned to the Red Sea cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, after being halted for six years after the bombing of a Russian aircraft over the Sinai Peninsula in 2015 that killed all 224 people on board.

Then in September, Egypt was removed from the UK's red travel list, resulting in the return of British tourists to its soil, another indicator that the country's tourism sector is on the mend.

In an attempt to continue easing the financial burdens the pandemic placed on its tourism workers, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities also decided to continue its reduction of the rates paid by renters of bazaars, booths and cafes at some of the country’s most prominent archaeological sites.

The reduction will continue throughout November and December 2021, the council said on Tuesday night.

The council had previously reduced rent prices at the outset of the pandemic, and in March 2020 it decided to cut them by 50 per cent, a rate that was then reduced to a full exemption from June 2020 until October 2021.

Tourist numbers to sites such as the temple of Queen Hapshepsut in Luxor have increased after improved security in the wake of the Sharm El Sheikh bombings in 2005.

In light of the marked improvements witnessed by the country’s tourism sector during the past year, the council has decided to slowly increase rent rates again, it said.

The decision was announced following the council’s monthly meeting, which took place on Tuesday.

The council also approved during the meeting the registration of seven new artefacts from the Church of St Mina on the country’s Islamic, Coptic and Jewish artefacts registry.

Updated: October 27, 2021, 3:32 PM