Death in the Air: Everything You Need to Know About the Recent Flight Incidents in Egypt



Over the last six months, there has been a significant surge in airplane-related incidents involving Egypt, whether as a country of departure or as a country of destination.

A total of 224 tourists, mostly Russians, lost their lives last Oct. 31, 2015, after their Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed in Sinai following its departure from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, Egypt en route to Saint Petersburg, Russia. The aircraft, an Airbus A321-231, is believed to have been deliberately brought down by a bomb placed on board.




Whether it was really a Daesh bomb or not, Egypt was blamed for the worst air catastrophe in the history of Russia, and as a result, several European countries suspended their flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, including the United Kingdom, which urged around 20,000 Brits in the Sinai resort city to return home.

With other countries following the footsteps of the UK, tourism in Egypt took a massive blow in what was supposed to be a very good season for tourism to recover from a four-year slowdown.




Despite intensifying security measures in Egyptian airports, last March, an internal flight between Alexandria and Cairo was hijacked and forced to divert its course to land at Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus.

The hijacker, Mr. Seif Eldin Mustafa, was thought to be armed with an explosive belt. It was revealed later that it was just a piece of cloth with mobile phones and some wires, so everybody onboard escaped unharmed — of course after 26-year-old passenger Ben Innes took a photo with the hijacker!

Until that day, Mustafa’s real motivation behind hijacking the EgyptAir Flight 181 remains a mystery. Upon the aircraft’s arrival to Cypriot, Mustafa gave the police a letter addressed to his ex-wife.

According to the Cypriot state media’s accounts, the hijacker demanded female prisoners in Egyptian jails to be released, and, according to Egyptian officials, he had been asking to speak to European Union officials. Another flight story with an absurd ending and details, and still no one knows what happened exactly.




In this routine of air-related incidents, EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean last Thursday while on course from Paris to Cairo. Another heartbreaking incident that has claimed the lives of all 66 people on board.

Two days later, the Egyptian military said it found debris from MS804 about 290 kilometers north of Alexandria. Data from the final moments before the MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean may lead to the conclusion that an internal explosion tore through the aircraft, experts suggested.

Investigators trying to determine whether the Airbus A320 was brought down by a terror act or a technical fault are poring over a series of warnings indicating smoke filled the cabin shortly before it disappeared from radar. What we know so far is that the French authorities have confirmed that smoke detectors went off aboard the flight a few minutes before it crashed, but said it was not clear what caused the smoke or fire.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Army released footage of shoes, handbags and other items pulled out of the sea near the crash site. Video footage showed unused life jackets and torn up parts of seats scattered across the deck of an Egyptian naval vessel. Until investigations are concluded, in all three cases and in spite of all kinds of conspiracy theories out there, we cannot just ignore the fact that we had three major flight incidents in less than six months.

I am not pointing fingers here, all I’m saying is that it’s possible that a combination of factors may have led to these tragedies, including but not limited to, security breaches, technical failures, terrorism and of course our very own Egyptian fahlawa!




WE SAID THIS: Disaster management is not only about finding bodies and taking out the plane’s black box, it is also about assuming responsibilities for mistakes committed against those who passed away in these catastrophes.