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Russian flights to Egypt could resume within one month once ban is lifted: Russian minister

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Sep 2017
Sharm el-Sheikh airport
File Photo: Tourists queue to pass airport security in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh (AFP)
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Russian passenger flights to Egypt could resume within one month once the two-year-old Russia’s ban on flights to Egypt is lifted, Russian transport minister Maxim Sokolov said on Thursday, though he did not specify when flights may resume.

"[Russian airlines] are already gearing up for this. I don't expect this period to last long," Sokolov said on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, according to Sputnik News agency.

The Russian minister's statements come a few days after Sokolov said that his country sees no need to conduct additional security checks at Cairo International Airport.

Sokolov said that a report on airport security measures implemented by Egypt has been sent to the Russian government.

On Tuesday, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit in China where they discussed several issues including the resumption of Russian passenger flights to Egypt.

Egypt hopes that a return of Russian tourists, which rank first among foreign vistors to the country, will rejuvenate its tourism revenues, which witnessed a sharp drop after the suspension of flights by Russia.

In late 2015, Russia suspended flights to Egypt after a Russian airliner crashed in Sinai shortly after taking off from the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all passengers on board.

Egypt has since been implementing more rigorous security measures at all its airports.

Russian security experts have carried out a series of inspections at Egyptian airports over the past year to make sure the new security measures meet Russian standards.

A number of European countries which suspended flights to Sharm after the 2015 Russian plane crash have resumed flights to the South Sinai tourist hub.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the first quarter of 2017 rose by 51 percent compared to the same period last year.

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