BRITISH Airways has extended its suspension of flights to the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh indefinitely, becoming the first major UK airline to cancel departures for the winter season in Egypt.

British and Russian governments banned their airlines from flying to the popular destination, because of concerns about security at the local airport after the suspected bombing of a Russian passenger jet in October 2015 killed all 224 people on board.

Tourism is a key source of income for the Egyptian economy but the number of tourists fell 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, partly hurt by the flight ban keeping UK and Russian tourists away.

“The safety and security of our customers will always be our top priorities and we have suspended our flights from Gatwick to Sharm al-Sheikh indefinitely,” British Airways said.

Customers with bookings on any can- celled services for the winter season will be offered a full refund or can put the money towards a new flight to an alternative destination, it added.

Other British air- lines, such as Mon- arch and easyJet, said they hoped to restart flights to Sharm al- Sheikh for the winter season, although that is dependent on ad- vice from the UK government, which has so far not changed.