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UAE carriers re-route flights over Egypt’s Sinai after Russian crash

United Arab Emirates airlines Emirates, Air Arabia and flydubai said on Sunday they were re-routing flights to avoid Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where a Russian aircraft carrying 224 passengers crashed on Saturday.

The airlines said they were closely monitoring the area and the re-routing was a security precaution, according to separate emailed statements to Reuters. Re-routing usually means longer flying distances, which add to fuel costs.

Budget carrier easyJet said it was taking advice from all relevant authorities and was continuing to “actively review” the situation. British Airways said in a statement that it did not discuss flight routes, “however we would never fly a route unless it was safe to do so”.

easyJet said that it, like other British airlines, did not overfly central and northern Sinai on the advice of Britain’s Department of Transport. The Russian plane crashed into a mountainous area of central Sinai on Saturday.

“Based on the information received to date, easyJet plans to continue to operate flights to Egypt to carry holidaymakers as planned to and from Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada but will continue to actively review the situation,” it said in a statement.

On Saturday, German carrier Lufthansa and Air France-KLM said they had decided to avoid flying over the peninsula while they waited for clarity on what caused the crash.

A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt, Sinai Province, said in a statement it had brought down the plane “in response to Russian air strikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land”, but Russia’s Transport Minister told Interfax news agency the claim “can’t be considered accurate”.

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