More Flights Cancelled As Fear Sets In Over Downed Russian Plane

A number of airlines have cancelled flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, including major operators in Britain, France and Germany, amid growing fears that the Russian plane that crashed on Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula was downed by a bomb.

Advice on the UK Foreign Office website today warned of a "significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive device" and British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the crash was "more likely than not" caused by a bomb. The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel by air to the resort and no U.K. carriers are flying to Sharm el-Sheikh airport.

There are a scheduled 41 flights a week from London to Sharm el-Sheikh, according to Skyscanner.

Meanwhile, the Elysee Palace sent out a statement after a meeting of the Security Council of France saying that the government has decided to cancel all direct flights between France and Sharm "to ensure the safety of people from France."

Germany's Lufthansa has also announced today that it has suspended flights to the resort, according to the Daily Telegraph. Lufthansa said that Edelweiss and Eurowings, its newly expanded low-cost carrier, had been planning to fly to Sharm twice a week, Reuters reports.

The Irish Aviation Authority has directed all Irish airlines to avoid Sharm el-Sheikh airport, as has the Ukrainian government. Russia, however, is continuing to fly dozens of flights over Sinai, according to the Guardian.

Effects of the British government's warning have already been felt on the stock markets. Shares in British travel company Thomas Cook fell by 5.3 percent, while TUI, the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world, dropped by 2.1 percent.

The market is responding to fears there could be more cancellations and reduced demand for holidays to Egypt, according to the Telegraph. A number of UK airlines are offering refunds to tourists with holidays booked to the popular destination.

Yeganeh Morakabati, an expert in risk and tourism at Bournemouth University, believes the incident will have an effect on people's decision to fly to Egypt.

"While the UK government has made the right decision to ground flights, when a government takes this action it does basically ring the alarm," Morakabati says.

She also fears that as this incident is just one of several disasters to have occurred in the region recently, tourists will now think twice about visiting the area. More than 3,000 British tourists fled Tunisia in June after a gunman opened fire on a beach killing 30 Britons.

"This incident will have an effect on travel to the region because it's becoming a recurring story now," Morakabati says "We've had Tunisia, we've had all sorts of trouble in the region, and now this."

She adds: "If things die down, people will begin to forget about this. But at the moment we are seeing a series of events. It's becoming a little too frequent."

In its 2014 market report, the Association of British Travel Agents found the popularity of a "number of popular holiday destinations were affected by political, social and economic unrest," the most prominent of which was Egypt. The country started the year with high visitor numbers, the report found, but suffered a "significant drop off due to political unrest leading to changes to Foreign Office advice for UK citizens."

Mike McCudden, of Interactive Investor, told the Telegraph that one outcome of the crash could be that "more popular African destinations become no-go regions for holiday makers."

He said: "As recently as September, Thomas Cook reported a solid rise in the number of passengers travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh, but in the wake of increased security concerns, this profitable region looks set to be written off for the foreseeable future."

However, there was little reaction among other airline shares, reports the BBC. British Airways owner IAG fell 0.2 percent while Easyjet rose by 0.1 percent.

While Morakabati says that travel disruption globally will be minimal as a result of the plane crash, it could raise concerns over the scale of ISIS's capabilities more broadly. "We have issues at home with extremism too," she says. "There will be fear in Europe."