Following the Metrojet A321-200 passenger jet crash in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula major airlines in the Middle East and Europe halted flights over the region. According to a senior official with Russia's Aviation Committee, the plane disintegrated in the air and the fragments are strewn over a large area. Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, easyJet, Royal Jordanian are among the carriers that will avoid flying over the Sinai peninsula.
However, British Airways reportedly said it did not plan to change its flying route in the region.
The plane, which took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and was bound for the Russian city of St. Petersburg, was flying at a cruising altitude of about 30,000 feet when it lost radar contact. A statement by the Sinai Province -- a local militant group affiliated to the Islamic State group -- in which it claimed to have shot down the plane “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land" -- was promptly refuted by both Egyptian and Russian officials.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has also launched a criminal probe into any possible violation of air safety rules -- a standard procedure when a crash involving Russian planes takes place.
At least 163 bodies and both black boxes have now been recovered.