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Sharm El-Sheikh welcomes first flight from Czech Republic in almost two years

Ahram Online , Monday 12 Jun 2017
Sharm Elshikh
Tourists who were due to participate in an aquatic exercise class, perform their exercises on the sand instead, at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)
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The Czech Republic renewed commercial flights to the Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Monday, with a Czech flight touching down at the city's airport, the first since the crash of a Russian passenger plane in October 2015.

Monday's passenger flight ends a halt in services from the East European nation to Sharm which lasted one year and 9 months, according to Al-Ahram Arabic website.

A Russian passenger jet crashed in Sinai in late October 2015, killing all 224 people on board, most of whom were holidaymakers.

Russia halted flights to Egypt since the incident.

The Islamist militant group Daesh later claimed responsiblity for the downing of the plane.

A number of other countries also suspended flights to Sharm after the incident. Germany, Poland and Turkey have since resumed flights; the UK, formerly a major source of tourists to Egypt, has not done so.

Monday's flight from the Czech Republic landed carrying 150 tourists, who were welcomed by Islam Nabil, director of the Egyptian Tourist Authority, as well as representatives of Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority.

More flights to by Sharm El-Sheikh may follow, assuming there is sufficient demand from Czech tourists.

Since the Russian jet crash in October 2015, Egypt and Russia have been seeking to implement new security protocols at Egyptian airports ahead of the resumption of Russian commerical flights.

Russian airport security experts have visited Egypt on at least six occasions since October 2015 to assess the effectiveness of new security measures.

In March, Russia and Egypt agreed upon the final version of a bilateral aviation-security protocol, which aims at resuming direct flights between the two countries, after Russia announced that Egyptian authorities had met 90 percent of the necessary criteria.

In May, Russia’s Deputy Transportation Minister Valery Okulov said that negotiations between Moscow and Cairo on the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt remained “unresolved”.

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