EgyptAir mystery continues, crash hits tourism

May 25, 2016 4:26 pm

Bangkok airport travellers. (Image: Alamy)

It has been six days since EgyptAir flight MS804, travelling from Paris to Cairo, disappeared from the radar before crashing into the Mediterranean, bringing the increasing number of airline accidents back under the spotlight.


Specialised committees and involved authorities are still asking questions and trying to solve the mystery of the doomed flight; all of the 66 people on board are now believed to be deceased.


A specialised committee from Egypt has revealed, through its investigation, that the A320 did not show any technical problems before taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport.


Egypt’s state-owned newspaper, Al-Ahram, also reported on Tuesday that the airline had shown no technical issues, citing an Aircraft Technical Log signed by the flight’s pilot.

While the airplane did not initiate contact, Egyptian air traffic control said they were able to view it on the radar, on the border between Egypt and Greek airspace, sources speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters.


The sources added that the airplane disappeared without swerving off radar screens, less than a minute after entering Egyptian airspace, but Egyptian and Greek air traffic controllers have different accounts on the final moments of the doomed airplane, the international news agency reported.


However, as of now, some reports suggest that the incident was an act of an attacker, most of which suggest that a bomb might have been planted onboard the aircraft, causing a mid-air explosion prior to the crash.


Tourism to be hit, again


The crash is expected to almost surely hit tourism in the country. Egyptian Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said on Sunday that the North African country has to work “ten times” harder to revive tourism after the incident.


The minister refused to forecast implications of the crash in terms of numbers. The number of tourists in Egypt fell 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the same period last year, as the country has been moving from one crisis to the next.


Last October, a Russian airliner carrying 224 people was downed in the Sinai.


The minister said the country was hoping to attract 12 million tourists by the end of 2017.


Where to fly this summer?


With increasing threats and attacks on airlines and tourism destinations, in addition to the accelerating aviation accidents, the global scene of tourism is surely taking a new shape and form, with the fall of previously main tourism destinations, and the rise of others.


On a global scale, tourism is still experiencing a steady growth, with nearly 1.2 billion international tourist arrivals recorded in 2015, measuring a four per cent increase from 2014, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).


UNWTO forecasts that a continuation of the upward trend throughout 2016, despite the numerous incidents happening in different parts of the world.


MENA countries current ranked as having a “high” terror threat include: Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Algeria, among others.


While that might seem like a no-brainer for some, countries like France and Germany, previously regarded among the top global tourism destinations, are now placed under the “high” threat of terror list, in many countries.


Alternatively, countries like Mangolia, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Bolivia and Bhutan are considered the new “safe havens” for this year’s summer vacations. While these countries might have high levels of crime and other problems, they are low on the terror threat risk factor.



AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.