Airlines, Cruise Lines stay clear of chaotic Egypt

A number of airlines have canceled flights in and out of Egypt and cruise lines have canceled calls to ports as unrest grows.

Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises, both with scheduled stops in in Alexandria, Egypt have canceled those calls, modifying itineraries. Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Kuwait Airways and Egypt Air have altered flights or suspended service to the region indefinitely.

The situation is grim. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and the right to a free election have been seen looting,

After warning against travel to Egypt, evacuation flights are being organized by the US Embassy in Cairo and will leave Monday. India and Turkey are evacuating their citizens today. In a statement, the US Embassy said

“The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt due to ongoing political and social unrest. On January 30, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees. Violent demonstrations have occurred in several areas of Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country, disrupting road travel between city centers and airports. Disruptions in communications, including internet service, may occur. The Government of Egypt has imposed a curfew from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez until further notice.”

Protests in the last five days against Mubarak’s 30-year rule have caused the Egyptian army to be deployed in an attempt to control demonstrations. With at least 74 killed, two mummies destroyed, burning buildings and ongoing battles between protesters and police will effectively shut down tourism, a major factor in the Egyptian economy.

On CNN this morning, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US is standing by the existing Egyptian government “for now” urging an open discussion that could lead to peace.

Flickr photo by ChrisCruises