Egypt's tourism minister confirms high-level talks to 'solve crisis with Russia'

Ahram Online , Friday 13 Nov 2015

Russia's aviation agency halted EgyptAir flights from Cairo to Moscow

Hisham Zaazou
Egypt's tourism minister Hisham Zaazou said high-level communication with Russian authorities is underway regarding the decision to halt EgyptAir flights. (Photo: AP)

Tourism minister Hisham Zaazou revealed on Friday evening that Egypt and Russia are communicating to solve the "crisis" following the halting of EgyptAir flights to Moscow.

Zaazou told Ahram Arabic news website that the tourism, aviation and foreign ministries are communicating with the Russian side to solve the crisis.

After Russia's aviation agency Rosaviatsiya decided to halt EgyptAir flights from Cairo to Moscow, Egypt's aviation minister issued a statement saying Egypt was not officially notified by Russian authorities and that Egypt is communicating on a high-level with Russia to understand the reasons behind the decision to halt flights. 

The tourism minister expressed his surprise at the decision to halt EgyptAir flights to Moscow, describing it as "strange" timing.

Zaazou told Ahram Arabic news website that some of EgyptAir's passengers are tourists, while the rest work between Russia and Egypt.

EgyptAir cancelled its flight from Cairo to Moscow early on Saturday.

Zaazou said Russian-Egyptian relations are strong, as Moscow has been receiving EgyptAir flights for over 50 years.

He added that there is constant communication with the officials at the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation and with trip coordinators.

According to Egypt's State Information Service, 97 Russian companies work in tourism in Egypt, with investments of $56.5 million, which is around half of the size of Russian investments in Egypt.

More than three million Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2014.

Zaazou said the ministry prepared a tourism campaign to promote Egyptian tourism in Russia, which will be launched following the removal of the freeze on flights by Russia.

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