Ben Martin

Sharm el-Sheikh package trips ‘may be off until July’

That would leave British travellers unable to visit a popular sun spot and strike a major blow to the Egyptian2 economy, which relies heavily on British tourism. It is unlikely the UK government will be able to reach a decision by the travel industry s end-of-November deadline, and Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, has said that flights may remain suspended until Christmas.3

The uncertainty is fuelled by the fact that Egypt s authorities have still not established whether or not an operative of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) smuggled a bomb on to the Russian airliner that crashed nine days ago, killing all 224 aboard.4

Sharm El-Sheikh Package Trips 'may Be Off Until July'

Investigators have reportedly interrogated 18 airport managers and workers5 but have made no arrests and still do not know if there is a mole among the staff.

Eight British flights left yesterday carrying around 2,000 passengers. Some 15,000 Britons are still in the resort, of which 3,000 were supposed to be home already. The British airlift is dwarfed by the Russian repatriation, which is seeing more than 20 flights taking 4,800 passengers out of Sharm el-Sheikh every day. John Casson, Britain s ambassador to Egypt, denied suggestions that Russia s operations were slowing down the return flights of UK tourists.

Sharm El-Sheikh Package Trips 'may Be Off Until July'

Mr Casson added that the UK was confident British travellers could fly safely through other Egyptian airports. It emerged, meanwhile, that Discount Holidays © holiday operators are selling packages to hotels within striking distance of the heartland of the Isil-affiliated group suspected of targeting the Russian airliner. Websites including lastminute.com are offering holidays to Taba Heights, Egypt, for departures this week, even though the British government has been advising against all but essential travel to areas around the resort since last year.

Sharm El-Sheikh Package Trips 'may Be Off Until July'

Three tourists died in a suicide bombing in Taba last year. Hundreds of local civilians and troops have been killed in attacks. However, Lastminute.com is offering a 10-night break at the Hilton Taba Resort Hotel and British visitors are known to currently be at the resort. Recent reviews of Taba written by British tourists on TripAdvisor suggest they had no idea that it was in a danger zone.

One, Mike C from Chester, who stayed in April this year, said that UK airlines don t fly to Taba for some reason any more, so you get a bus or taxi from Sharm which can add to the occasion. Eight more flights are expected to leave Sharm el-Sheikh today to bring home British holidaymakers. Tourists flying home at the weekend complained that there was still chaos at Sharm el-Sheikh airport.6

Sharm El-Sheikh Package Trips 'may Be Off Until July'

Marc Standen, 28, a car salesman from Westgate, Kent, said: They did a semi-pat down inside and we took our shoes off.

I don t think it was very thorough. Their security is terrible and they are completely overwhelmed.

Sharm El-Sheikh Package Trips 'may Be Off Until July'

Bags taken on board were not checked adequately, he said, and at one point around 400 people tried to squeeze through two glass doors to get to a final security check, leaving some hurt as they got trampled. He added: We have left our two bags behind in a pile in the middle of the terminal, and I honestly don t know if we will see them again.

discountholidays.info7

Follow @telegraphnews8

References

  1. ^ Follow (twitter.com)
  2. ^ Egyptian (www.discountholidays.info)
  3. ^ Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, has said that flights may remain suspended until Christmas. (www.discountholidays.info)
  4. ^ smuggled a bomb on to the Russian airliner that crashed nine days ago, killing all 224 aboard. (www.discountholidays.info)
  5. ^ interrogated 18 airport managers and workers (www.discountholidays.info)
  6. ^ complained that there was still chaos at Sharm el-Sheikh airport. (www.discountholidays.info)
  7. ^ discountholidays.info (www.facebook.com)
  8. ^ Follow @telegraphnews (twitter.com)

Great Britain’s team pursuiters dominate European Track Champs qualification

Great Britain’s male and female team pursuit squads both qualified fastest by a clear margin at the European Track Championships in Switzerland
– Photos from Graham Watson

Great Britain’s Team Pursuiters Dominate European Track Champs Qualification

Great Britain in the 2015 European Track Championships

Great Britain dominated the opening team pursuit qualifying rounds at the European Track Championship in Grenchen, Switzerland, on Wednesday. Both GB s male and female quartets clocked the fastest times by a clear margin over their nearest rivals.

Sir Bradley Wiggins1, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Andy Tennant set a time of 3-57.277 to average 60.688 km/h and go comfortably under the four-minute mark. The team will face Russia in the championship s first proper day of competition tomorrow (Thursday) as they seek to gain a place in the gold medal final. Switzerland were the only other team to post a sub-four-minute time, going second fastest with 3-59.026. France were third with 4-00.735.

Great Britain’s Team Pursuiters Dominate European Track Champs Qualification

Great Britain heads off in the team pursuit qualifying round

We didn t really know what to expect coming in because we ve been doing a lot of training into it, Doull commented to British Cycling2.

That was the aim to do something around that time and have a nice smooth consistent ride. Yeah pretty successful.

>>> Where to watch the European Track Championships3

It s the first clear indication that Wiggins has slotted into the GB line-up with ease, complementing Burke, Doull and Tennant. At this point, the performance looks on target for the 2016 Olympic Games4 in Rio.

Great Britain’s Team Pursuiters Dominate European Track Champs Qualification

Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2015 European Track Championships

Also on target were the British women s quartet of Laura Trott5, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne and Joanna Rowsell Shand6, who were clearly in a league of their own. The squad posted a time of 4-21.089, some nine and a half seconds quicker than second-placed Russia. Italy qualified third fastest.

>> Hoy: British track riders can score morale points at European Championships7

GB s women will face Poland on Thursday in the first round, which also includes the team sprint, men s scratch race and women s point race.

The 2015 European Track Championships run until Sunday, October 18.

Great Britain’s Team Pursuiters Dominate European Track Champs Qualification

Bradley Wiggins takes a break at the Euro track champs

References

  1. ^ Sir Bradley Wiggins (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ commented to British Cycling (www.britishcycling.org.uk)
  3. ^ Where to watch the European Track Championships (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ 2016 Olympic Games (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Laura Trott (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Joanna Rowsell Shand (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Hoy: British track riders can score morale points at European Championships (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

Thomas Cook takes £25m hit from Tunisia and Greece crises – Telegraph.co.uk

The beleaguered FTSE 250 firm said the majority of the hit some 20m was because of Tunisia, where 38 tourists, 30 of them British, were shot dead at a beach resort last month, prompting the UK government to advise against all but essential travel to the country until at least the end of October.

Thomas Cook typically carries about 700,000 tourists a year to the country, accounting for 3pc of its overall passenger volumes, and was forced to fly more than 15,000 customers home. While conceding that the crisis could also hit its numbers for 2016, chief executive Peter Fankhauser said he was confident that travellers will eventually return to the country.

Tunisia, going forward, is going to be a popular Discount Holidays © holiday destination again, he said, adding that it was just a matter of time for volumes to fully recover. Mr Fankhauser revealed that he met with the Tunisian prime minister on Monday and that he assured me he is doing everything in his power to take care of our guests .

The terrorist attack had also affected trips to Egypt, the Thomas Cook boss added, where growth was slower than it might have been during the summer.

The impact of Tunisia on 2016 profits will be dictated by when the British government changes its travel advice, as well as the company s success in finding alternative destinations for its customers in countries such as Spain and Bulgaria, Mr Fankhauser said.

Travellers concerns about Greece, which accounted for 5m of the hit to its 2015 numbers, are not expected to persist into next year, however.

Customers were worried that the country s buckling financial system had affected the ability of Greek hotels to buy food and other supplies, the Thomas Cook boss said. As a result, there was a three-week period during the height of the crisis when customers had stopped booking trips to the company in the late market.

Both Greece and Tunisia hit the tour operator during the peak summer period, and piled pressure on the company at a time when it was already under fire. In May, an inquest into the deaths of two British children on a Thomas Cook Discount Holidays © holiday nine years ago found the firm had breached its duty of care.

The business was caught in a violent public backlash1 over its treatment of the bereaved parents and faced calls for a boycott.

Mr Frankhauser said on Thursday that despite the public anger, its bookings had been unaffected by the boycott threat.

Thomas Cook has, however, been hurt by the currency markets, particularly the weakness of the euro and the Swedish krona against the pound. In May the company had told investors to brace for a 25m hit, but that estimated has now been increased to 39m.

Mr Fankhauser is tasked with completing the turnaround started by his predecessor Harriet Green, which is starting bear fruit. Thomas Cook said on Thursday that it achieved a 3m operating profit during its third-quarter, the first time in six years that it has recorded a positive performance during the three-month period.

It said in May that it would restart dividends in 2016, after scrapping shareholder payouts four years ago when the company came close to collapse.

Mr Fankhauser said on Thursday that events in Tunisia and Greece had not affected its dividend plans.

References

  1. ^ caught in a violent public backlash (www.discountholidays.info)