Skip to main content

Americans urged to leave Egypt while charters available

By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
A large crowd overwhelms a hall at Cairo International Airport this week as people try to catch flights out of Egypt.
A large crowd overwhelms a hall at Cairo International Airport this week as people try to catch flights out of Egypt.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The State Department is urging Americans to leave Egypt
  • Charter flights remain available, but many are leaving with empty seats
  • Many commercial airlines are still flying from Egypt

Follow live blogging on "This Just In" and the latest tweets from CNN correspondents from the protests. Send your video, images to CNN iReport.

Washington (CNN) -- With a rapidly deteriorating situation on the streets of Cairo, the U.S. State Department is urging Americans who want help getting out of Egypt to "take advantage of U.S. government charter flights while they are available."

"As you know, we cannot demand that an American leave, however, we certainly push for them to leave," said a senior State Department official, who spoke on background because he was not authorized to use his name.

According to the official, the State Department is cutting back on the number of flights Thursday because some of those charters have been leaving with empty seats.

On Thursday morning, one flight was fully booked and boarded, and takeoff was imminent, he said. An additional flight was on the ground, the official said, "but isn't even near halfway full."

About 3,000 Americans have registered to be evacuated. So far, 2,000 have been flown out on U.S. government charters to European locations. Since Monday, the State Department has been running an average of four flights a day. Depending upon demand, more flights could be added, but the official said if circumstances suddenly got worse, they might have to order charters from other cities in the region and that could take time.

Americans evacuating Egypt
RELATED TOPICS

The State Department is urging U.S. citizens who want to leave to come to Cairo International Airport as soon as possible. They should bring travel documents with them, but even citizens who have passports that expired up to 10 years ago can come, and U.S. consular officials will assist them.

Commercial flights from Cairo still are operating, and many Americans, according to the State Department, have already left via commercial airlines, private airlines and other governments' chartered flights. At last report, the Cairo airport terminal is relatively orderly, according to the department.

It continues to assess whether or not flights will operate Friday and possibly Saturday.

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.
 
Quick Job Search