Belgian airline to fly Egypt tourists home... without luggage

Russian tourists at Sharm el-Sheikh airport on Nov 4, 2015.
Russian tourists at Sharm el-Sheikh airport on Nov 4, 2015.EPA

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgian airline Jetair said on Thursday it will send three planes to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh to repatriate tourists, but without their luggage, following the crash of a Russian passenger jet that took off from the resort.

Jetair is the latest in a series of airlines to take urgent steps since Britain announced on Wednesday that it was suspending flights in and out of the Red Sea resort due to fears the Russian jet was downed by a bomb.

After halting a flight that was due to leave Brussels for Sharm el-Sheikh earlier Thursday, Jetair said that three flights due to leave on Friday, Saturday and Sunday would depart, without outbound passengers.

Passengers who were set to be on the return flights from Sharm el-Sheikh to Brussels would "board as normal", Jetair said in a statement.

But there was a caveat.

"An exceptional security measure will apply to these three return flights: no check-in bags will be accepted. Passengers can take a cabin bag which will be subject to extra checks," Jetair said.

"We have not yet had firm guarantees from Sharm el-Sheikh airport that their baggage checks eliminate all security risk."

The airline said it would do "everything possible" to get passengers' bags back.

Tour operator Thomas Cook, meanwhile, said it was continuing flights from Belgium to Sharm el-Sheikh as there had been no travel advice to the contrary from the Belgian government.