Monarch cancels more Sharm flights as Government announces end to direct return trips

Monarch has cancelled all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh until December 19.

The airline made the announcement on Friday after the British Government said there would be no direct flights back to the UK from the Egyptian resort after November 17.

Anyone still in Sharm after November 17 wishing to return to the UK will have to fly via another airport until travel restrictions are lifted. The Government warned they would do so "at their own risk".

The Government suspended all direct flights between Britain and the Red Sea resort amid security fears that a Russian jet which crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm airport on October 31 was brought down by a bomb.

Monarch's announcement means many people who have booked to stay at the resort over Christmas will have to rearrange their travel plans.

The airline has extended an offer to allow customers to change their plans free of charge until the end of December.

There will be no direct flights back to the UK from Sharm after November 17. Credit: Reuters

A Monarch spokesman said: "Following today’s statement from the Department for Transport (Dft), Monarch is announcing the cancellation of further flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh up to and including flights which were scheduled to depart on Saturday, 19 December 2015."

Monarch will operate direct flights to the UK from Sharm until November 17, as advised by the Government.

On Friday the Government said that almost all British tourists should have returned from Sharm by that date. Airlines have estimated there will be fewer than 200 passengers left in the resort. Those remaining will not be able to fly directly home.

"The Government will continue to support direct return flights by British airlines until the majority of passengers who wish to leave Sharm el-Sheikh have done so, on 17 November," a DfT spokesman said.

There were long queues at Sharm airport after the Russian jet crash. Credit: PA

"Should tourists choose to remain in Sharm el-Sheikh after Tuesday, 17 November, 2015, they should make their own alternative arrangements for returning to the UK.

"This may involve having to travel with an airline to which enhanced UK security measures, e.g separate baggage flights, do not apply.

"Travellers are advised that they do so at their own risk."

On Thursday, Thomson said all of its flights would have returned from Sharm by November 16.

By Thursday evening, 13,285 people had been returned to the UK from Sharm since November 6.

Around 20,000 Britons were at the Egyptian resort when flights were suspended.

Egypt's tourism minister has said the decision by Britain and Russia to suspend flights to the resort could cost the country around £180 million a month.

The Russian jet crashed on October 31, killing all 224 people onboard. Credit: PA