Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Cairo – Reuters Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Cairo – Reuters

Resumption of Moscow flights to Cairo next month

Mon, Jan. 22, 2018
CAIRO - 22 January 2018: A high-profile Russian security delegation commenced its inspection at Cairo Airport on Monday to resume flights between Moscow and Cairo in February 2018.

The Russian security delegation is going to follow up on the entire security procedures for three days to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency in securing passengers and goods at Cairo Airport.

On February 1, 2018, Egypt is set to receive the first Russian flight after three years of the Russian air suspension, following an agreement signed by Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokoloc and Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy.

“This is the first step for resumption of flights between the two countries,” Sokoloc underscored.

On October 31, 2015, Russian Metrojet flight 9268 crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh on a charter flight to St. Petersburg, Russia. There were no survivors among the 224 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A321. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the terrorist act.

In the wake of the Islamic State bombing, Britain – another major source of visitors to Egypt – also suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.

The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, which has suffered badly from the travel ban that turned the once 100-percent-occupied resorts to empty places.

Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt. The Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, the number went down to 2.38 million in 2015, according to CAPMAS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a visit to Cairo in December 2017, said the deal on the resumption of flights could be signed "in the nearest time," and he praised Egypt's efforts to boost security at its airports.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who visited Russia twice since taking office in 2014, has signed deals to buy billions of dollars’ worth of Russian weapons, including fighter jets and assault helicopters.

In November, Russia approved a draft agreement with Egypt to allow Russian warplanes to use Egyptian military bases.

Putin and Sisi appeared keen to cement their countries' ties, which have deepened in recent years as Moscow has expanded its reach across the region.

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