All Britons stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh following a plane crash 11 days ago should be home by the end of this week, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Image by kmf164 / CC BY-SA 2.0

Thousands of holidaymakers remain in the popular Egyptian resort, held up after the decision to suspend routine air links and increase security measures in the wake of the crash that killed all 224 people on board.

A total of 2,301 passengers returned to the UK on Monday on 11 flights from the resort.

Asked during a press conference in Washington, DC about the delays for Britons trying to get back to the UK compared with other countries, Philip Hammond said the Government had insisted on “some very significant increased security requirements” to ensure the safety of passengers.

He said: “That has caused some delays and sort of backups in what is quite a small airport operating quite close to its capacity.

“There have been more Russian flights going out than flights to the UK. Russia has far more people in the resort than the UK does and the Russians, as far as I’m aware, have not insisted on the additional security measures that we have imposed.”

Mr Hammond said they are happy with how the process is going.

“By the end of this week, we expect to have cleared the backlog. So in the circumstances, the repatriation is going smoothly.”

Investigators are understood to be 90% sure a noise picked up by the cockpit voice recorder in the final seconds of the flight was the sound of an explosion caused by a bomb.

The Russian plane which crashed on October 31 – an Airbus 321 – was still gaining altitude as it disintegrated 23 minutes after take-off.

Mr Hammond has already warned that airport security around the world will have to be overhauled if it was confirmed the crash in the Sinai was caused by an Islamic State (IS) bomb.

The head of easyJet has added her voice to the call for a global tightening of airport security, but insisted that this must be led by governments rather than the travel industry.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of easyJet’s first flight, chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “British airports have very tight security and they have really tightened up on security in the last few years, so this is not a blanket thing.

“This is about certain airports that the Government will identify that need to take certain measures to improve their security and they will lead on that.”

She added: “We will be led by the Government as to when we can fly to Sharm. They will tell us.They have the intelligence and they have the inside track.

“In terms of any other airport in the world, if any airport needs to tighten their security it will be governments that decide that that is the case.

“We have to be in touch with them all the time and we have to understand what they are saying and why they are saying it.”

Ms McCall told the BBC in an earlier interview that Mr Hammond was “right to point out” that there are countries outside of Britain where security “perhaps needs to be tightened”.

(Press Association)