File Photo: Egypt's prime minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a plane crash at the desert in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt (Photo: Reuters)
An upcoming visit to Egypt of Russian specialists for completion of the Egyptian airports security audit depends on fulfillment of security requirements by the Egyptian side, a Russian transport ministry representative told Russia’s news agency TASS on Wednesday.
"The date of the next inspection is not known currently. Everything depends on the pace of the Egyptian side to fulfill airfield security requirements presented by Russian specialists," the unnamed official said.
The statements came on the same day Egypt’s civil aviation minister, on an official visit to Russia, extended an invitation to the Russian technical team to visit Egypt soon in hope of resuming direct flights between Egypt and Russia suspended in the aftermath of the deadly October 2015 crash of a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai.
During a four-day visit, Sherif Fathy and an Egyptian security and technical delegation held several sessions with Russian counterparts on the latest developments related to security in Egyptian airports, with security measures in airports enhanced in preparation for the return of flights.
Egypt’s tourism suffered a severe blow with the halt of flights from Russia in the wake of the fatal crash.
The MetroJet plane crashed in northern Sinai after departing from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, killing all 224 people on board.
An Islamic State group affiliate in Sinai claimed responsibility for bringing down the airliner with a bomb.
Russian authorities and other countries declared the incident a terrorist act, suspending flights citing security concerns in Egyptian airports.
Egypt has previously said it has fulfilled 85 percent of Russia’s demands regarding aviation safety and is now expecting steps to be taken by the Russian side towards resuming flights.