Staff greet Russian tourists at Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport on 9 August, 2021. Ministry of Aviation.
Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport received on Monday morning the first Russian flight, operated by Rossiya Airlines, coming from the Russian capital Moscow, after the end of a six-year suspension of direct flights from Russia to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts.
The flight was carrying 517 tourists on board, according to a statement by the Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday.
South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda and Russian Ambassador in Cairo Georgiy Borisenko were present at the airport to receive the tourists upon arrival.
Also, Board Chairman of the Egyptian Airports Company Ahmed Mansour and Director of Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Nabil El-Mallah were present, the statement added.
Earlier today, Hurghada International Airport received the first two flights from Moscow since 2015.
In October 2015, Russia suspended direct flights to Egyptian airports following the crash of a Russian flight in Sinai that killed all 224 people on board.
Egypt has since upgraded its safety and security measures at all airports nationwide.
The country also received several Russian security delegations to inspect safety measures at the Red Sea and other airports.
Russian travellers are a major contributor to the country's tourism industry, a key source of hard currency.
Russian tourists in Egypt surpassed 3.1 million in 2014, representing 33 percent of all tourists that year, but they have dropped to average 100,000 tourists per year since the airliner crash in 2015.
In April 2018, Russia resumed flights to Cairo International Airport, ending a 30-month suspension, but the Russian ban on flights to Egypt's Red Sea destinations was only lifted last month, as per Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree.
The Russian president's decision came on the heels of a phone call between Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Putin in April, during which they agreed on the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Red Sea airports.
“The decision to resume flights to Red Sea airports was based on joint cooperation between Egypt and Russia and the security measures at Egyptian airports,” the Egyptian presidency said at the time.