The U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that flights from the U.K. to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt could be resumed by Friday, as security is stepped up at the airport amid safety concerns.
Around 20,000 British nationals are thought to be in the Egyptian coastal resort. Flights to and from the resort were suspended by the British government on Wednesday as a precaution after a Russian plane crash was thought to have been caused by terrorists.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said that it was "more likely than not" that a bomb downed the Russian jet and discussed the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Hammond said he hoped flights would resume on Friday, but it could take up to ten days before all the tourists can return to the U.K.
"The airlines are telling us that they expect, by tomorrow, to be in a position to start flying those British visitors back to the U.K. So we're spending today with the airlines, with the Egyptian authorities putting in place short-term emergency measures that will allow us to screen everything going on to those planes so we can be confident that they can fly back safely to the U.K."
Britain's Monarch Airlines said it would start repatriating its 3,000 passengers in Sharm on Friday. It will operate three rescue flights in addition to the usual two scheduled flights. EasyJet also confirmed it plans to resume its scheduled flights tomorrow and plans to operate six additional flights.