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Possible resumption of Egypt-Russia flights could start with Cairo: Russian deputy PM

Flights between the two countries have been halted since a deadly plane crash in Sinai in 2015

Ahram Online , Sunday 29 Jan 2017
Russia
File Photo: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (Photo: Reuters)
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Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that a possible resumption of Russian passenger flights to Egypt would start with Cairo International Airport first then followed by Red Sea resorts' airports, Russian news agency TASS reported on Saturday.

In statements to Russian reporters, Dvorkovich said the decision for an air flights resumption between Egypt and Russia will be taken “soon”.

"I am not telling the time, but I think the decision on Cairo is close," he told Russian reporters.

Dvorkovich refrained from giving time for resumed flights to Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh, both major destinations for Russian holiday-makers.

The Russian official pointed at the possibility of a gradual resumption of flights through Cairo International Airport, then “we shall continue working on the rest.”

Dvorkovich also said that a meeting was not yet planned with the Head of Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority, despite statements by Russian officials last week that Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy is set to visit Russia in February.

On Friday, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said Egypt and Russia will sign a joint intergovernmental agreement on airport security during Fathy’s visit.

Sokolov said that a delegation of Russian experts is set to visit Egypt in February for an inspection of Cairo airport, pointing out that this could be the final such visit before passenger flights are resumed between the two countries.

Egypt has been implementing tighter security measures at its airports since a Russian passenger flight crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport in October 2015.

Russia suspended passenger flights to Egypt shortly after the crash, and since then it has dispatched its experts for several inspections of Egyptian airport security measures in preparation for the resumption of flights.

A number of European countries that suspended flights to Sharm El-Sheikh following the 2015 crash have recently reinstated direct flights to the South Sinai tourist hotspot.

Egyptian tourism, a pillar of the country's economy and a key source of hard currency, has taken a blow since the passenger plane crash. Sharm El-Sheikh's economy is believed to have suffered the most.

Egypt’s revenues from tourism dropped from $6.1 billion in 2015 to $3.4 billion in 2016, according to statements by the Central Bank of Egypt’s governor, Tarek Amer, last week.  

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