Search and rescue mission for Egyptian plane missing en route Paris to Cairo

EgyptAir has confirmed that Flight MS 804, which departed from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, has gone missing and disappeared off the radar 15 minutes after entering Egyptian airspace, at an estimated 37 000 feet.

No official confirmation has been made by the Egyptian government, says Middle East correspondent Paula Sliers.

66 people were on board - 56 passengers, 1 child, 2 infants, 7 crew members and 3 security personnel.

The Egyptian government is very nervous to hint that any of their planes are under hijacking threats or disappearance threats

Paula Sliers, Middle East Correspondent

All information is coming from the airline, which has stated that the pilot and co-pilot have thousands of flying hours under their belts.

The airline wants to put to bed any concerns and questions as to who the pilots where, in the light of what has happened in the past.

Paula Sliers, Middle East Correspondent

Sliers reports that the political situation in Egypt is very volatile.

The main source of income for Egyptians is tourism. And the tourism industry has been hugely hit, [particularly since the end of last year when the Russian plane, where Islamic State affiliate managed to smuggle a bomb on board, and all the Russian tourists, more than 200, were killed in that airline.

Paula Sliers, Middle East Correspondent

Russia suspended airline flights to Egypt after that, and it has hit tourism hard. But, says Sliers, Egyptian authorities want to send a message that Egypt is a safe tourist destination.

In the Sinai Desert there is a huge threat of Islamic State affiliate groups...in Cairo there is great concern about security.

Paula Sliers, Middle East Correspondent

Airbus spokesperson Linden Burns, speaking to Kieno Kammies from Zimbabwe, says the Airbus A320 is one of the most widely used and popular aircraft in the world. He says it has a very good safety record.

We've delivered over 4200 of these aircraft by the end of last month, and have another 4000 on order to deliver over the next ten years.

Linden Burns, Airbus spokesperson

Many components of that aircraft are made in South Africa.

Linden Burns, Airbus spokesperson

A search and rescue mission has been launched into the Mediterranean. Egypt airspace extends quite far into the Mediterranean.

Linden Burns, Airbus spokesperson

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