Thomas Cook
The Thomas Cook flight towards Sharm el-Sheikh airport was diverted over Albania Getty

A Thomas Cook flight heading towards to Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to pick up stranded British tourists has turned around in mid-flight and is heading back towards Manchester.

Flight TCX2706 from Manchester Airport turned around over Albania on its way to Egypt to pick up some of the thousands of Britons who have been holed up at the Red Sea resort airport ever since a Russian passenger plane crashed in the Sinai Province, killing all 224 passengers on board.

While the cause of the crash is not confirmed, there are reports that an explosive device may have been put in the hold prior to take off with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond saying there is a "significant possibility" that Islamic State (Isis) was responsible.

EasyJet was earlier forced to postpone eight of its 10 rescue flights to Sharm el-Sheikh. The Egyptian civil aviation ministry denied claims it is blocking UK flights from arriving at the airport but is currently unable to deal with the sheer number of flights coming in.

A ministry spokesman told Reuters: "Flying out thousands of people on one day is incredibly hard. Everyone has to go through the procedures. We have not cancelled any flights but the airport cannot handle all these planes at once."

IBTimes UK is awaiting comment from Thomas Cook.