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The first flight bringing home stranded British travellers from Sharm el-Sheikh has landed at London Gatwick.
Of 20 flights planned to depart the resort today, the Egyptian authorities have only allowed eight to take off due to limited capacity at the resort's airport.
Five flights carrying British tourists from Sharm el-Sheikh to the UK have been confirmed for this evening.
As officials struggle to cope with the "sheer scale" of getting the thousands of Brits staying in the resort home, the number of slots available for 'rescue' flights has been limited to eight.
Four of five Monarch's planned flights returning British tourists to the UK have been able to land in Sharm el-Sheikh - but only one of four Thomas Cook jets have been granted landing permission.
Confirmed departures from Sharm to the UK:
- Monarch flight ZB097 to London Gatwick
- Monarch flight ZB475 to Birmingham Airport
- Thomas Cook flight MT5816/7 double-drop to Birmingham and East Midlands Airports
- Thomson flight TOM733 to Glasgow
- Thomson flight TOM397 to London Gatwick
Two easyJet flights have already departed, and a third - the U22398 to London Luton Airport - is scheduled leave Sharm at 6.45pm local time.
Monarch's fifth jet was diverted to Larnaca, Cyprus.
The operation to return British tourists stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh is "hugely complex" due to the huge number of people there, security officials have said.
The Foreign Office estimates some 22,000 Brits were in the Egyptian holiday resort when the government suspended flights amid fears terrorists may have been behind the downing of a Russian passenger jets.
A COBRA meeting this afternoon was given an update on progress made bringing Brits home from Sharm, a Downing Street spokeswoman revealed.
She urged passengers not to travel to Sharm airport until they had definite confirmation from their airline that they would be able to fly.
Vladimir Putin has ordered all Russian passenger flights to and from Egypt to be suspended, and a plan drafted to get Russians stranded there home.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that the decision did not mean a terrorist attack was behind a passenger jet crash last week.
Flights will remain suspended until the required level of industry safety had been reached, he added, with Russian authorities ordered to cooperate with Cairo in meeting standards.
According to Russian media reports, citing the country's tourism agency, around 45,000 Russian nationals are currently on holiday in Egypt.
Russia has been urged to suspend all passenger flights to Egypt until it knows what caused a crash in which 224 people died.
Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia's FSB security service, said: "Until we know the real reasons for what happened, I consider it expedient to stop Russian flights to Egypt. Above all, this concerns tourist routes."
The Kremlin was not immediately available to comment.
Egypt's military has sent special forces to Sharm el-Sheikh airport in the aftermath of a Russian plane crash which is believed to have been caused by a bomb.
A Reuters cameraman saw several vehicles transporting special forces in the airport complex.
Security officials said they were there to boost security for tourists, many of whom are Brits trying to get home.
Only eight of the 20 or more flights due to bring stranded Brits home from Sharm el-Sheikh will fly today, officials said.
Egypt's civil aviation minister blamed the disruption on luggage left behind by British passengers, who have been told they cannot take suitcases in the holds of planes.
Hossam Kamal's announcement is a further setback for the UK Government's hopes of clearing a backlog of holidaymakers stranded in the Red Sea resort since Wednesday by the end of the day.
In a statement, Mr Kamal said Sharm el-Sheikh airport was not able to hold more than 120 tons of luggage left behind by tourists to be flown separately to the UK by cargo plane.
"This big volume will affect the smooth operation of the rest of the domestic and international flights," he said.
"Egypt fully co-operates with the British side in the light of the resources of the airport and in accordance with international security regulations."
Britain's Ambassador to Egypt was heckled by angry passengers in Sharm el-Sheikh as he addressed crowds of stranded Brits waiting at the airport to board flights home.
Questions from stranded Britons like "When are we going home?" and "Why is he talking to them (journalists)? were directed to John Casson as he tried to address a pack of reporters
The ambassador, who has confirmed that Egyptian authorities have not halted flights entering the airport to take Britons home, said the aim was to "get as many people home as soon as possible".
Latest ITV News reports
Monarch has cancelled all flights to and from Sharm until December 19 as the Government said direct returns would end after November 17.
New mum who was stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh says "words can't describe how happy" she is to be reunited with baby after return from Egypt.