Russia’s transport minister Maksim Sokolov (Photo Courtesy of Russia's Transport Ministry website)
Egypt's aviation ministry cancelled on Tuesday a meeting scheduled for the early afternoon between the minister and the Russian transport minister due to "time crunch," aviation ministry officials said.
Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for talks with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on the resumption of flights between the two countries.
It is unclear if Sokolov, who leaves Cairo on Tuesday, will hold a press conference after meeting El-Sisi.
Moscow grounded all civilian passenger flights to Egypt last year over security concerns after the crash of a Russian jet over Sinai shortly after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh. All 224 people on board were killed in the crash, which was claimed by Islamist militants.
Talks between Sokolov and El-Sisi could include “a draft agreement between the governments of Russia and Egypt to ensure the safety of civil aviation,” according to Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti citing the Russian transport ministry's press service.
Last week, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi held talks with Russia’s Deputy Transport Minister Nikolay Zakhryapin, where they noted "significant progress" in cooperation in civil aviation security between the two countries.
The downing of the Russian flight was a heavy blow to Egypt's tourism industry. The number of tourists coming to Egypt dropped by 50 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year, according to Egypt's Tourism Authority.
Tourism revenues during that period witnessed a drop of 60 percent compared to 2015.