Russian airliner Kogalymavia will cease operation of all Airbus A321 aircraft after the Egypt crash that killed 224 people, state transport agency Rostransnadzor said, according to RIA news agency. Kogalymavia, also known as Metrojet, came under the scanner after one of its Airbus A321 aircraft bound for Russia's St Petersburg crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula after it took from Sharm el-Sheikh city Saturday.
The transport agency ordered the carrier to stop the operation while it conducts additional checks, according to the Russian news agency. The order comes a day after Britain alleged Wednesday that it had information pointing to the possibility that the Russian plane was brought down by a bomb. Evidence also suggested that a bomb planted by the Islamic State group was the likely cause of the crash, reports said.
However, Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty dismissed the allegations. Eldamaty said that the crash was "not a terror act. It was an accident," and stressed that it’s "very sad what happened, but we have to wait for the result of the investigation," the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Meanwhile, Egypt criticized Britain’s decision to ban commercial flights to Egypt indefinitely following the crash and called it an overreaction, according to AP. Egypt also promoted the head of the Sharm al-Sheikh airport even as foreign carriers suspended their service to the airport. U.K. travel companies EasyJet Plc and Thomas Cook Group Plc decided to evacuate about 10,000 tourists in Egypt.
Thomas Cook issued a statement Thursday saying it had cancelled all flights and holidays until Nov. 12. “…We will be seeking to bring all 1,700 customers currently in resort back to the U.K. in due course. Given that no U.K. flights will be operating in or out of Sharm el Sheikh on Thursday [Nov. 5], we have made arrangements for any customers due to return home today to remain in their accommodation free of charge,” the statement read.