Five Aeroflot airbus passenger planes, December 26, 2007 - FLICKR/Aleksander Markin Five Aeroflot airbus passenger planes, December 26, 2007 - FLICKR/Aleksander Markin

Flights between Egypt and Moscow to resume in March

Sat, Mar. 10, 2018
CAIRO – 10 March: The Russian authorities stated on Saturday that flights between Cairo and Moscow will resume in late March or early April, El-Youm newspaper reported, according to Sputnik.

In October 2015, Russia suspended civilian air traffic to Egypt after a bomb was detonated on a Russian charter plane over Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board. Russia qualified the incident as a terrorist attack.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands necessary for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits from Russian security to observe changes implemented by the government.

According to Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi, Moscow and Cairo will discuss the resumption of charter flights in April, 2018.

"We also agreed to continue our contacts in the spring, around the month of April. We will continue our negotiations regarding the decision on the rest of Egypt's airports," Fathi added.

On December 15, Fathi also travelled to Moscow and met Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

The two ministers signed an air security agreement that set the required procedures to pave the way for resuming Egypt-Russia air traffic.

On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Egypt for the second time since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014.

The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after bilateral relations were knocked by the plane crash.

Asked about the return of direct flights to Egypt, Putin said “The Russian security services have reported to me that, on the whole, we are ready for opening the direct air link between Moscow and Cairo ... This would require signing a corresponding intergovernmental protocol.”

The return of Russian flights and tours could be a massive boost to tourist numbers that reached 5.3 million in 2016, compared to 14.7 million visitors in 2010. However, it should be noted that the industry is recovering gradually.

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