Egypt makes significant progress on airport safety demands: Russia's transport ministry

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Nov 2016

According to Russian news agency TASS, Russian experts could head to Cairo next week for further security assessment of airports

Maksim Sokolov
File Photo: Russia’s transport minister Maksim Sokolov (Photo Courtesy of Russia's Transport Ministry website)

Russia's transport ministry said that Egyptian aviation authorities have made significant progress in complying with Russia’s aviation safety requirements, Russian news agency TASS reported on Monday.

"Recently, our Egyptian colleagues have made good progress in that direction, and the country is cooperating constructively," the ministry's press service said.

The ministry said that the resumption of flights would only be possible after Egypt satisfies all the demands made by Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports.

According to TASS, the ministry said Russian experts would be ready to once again head to Egypt within a week’s time after it receives an official invitation from the Egyptian side for a security assessment of the airports.

Russia grounded flights to and from Egypt after an Airbus A321 en route to St Petersburg crashed soon after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh on 31 October 2015.

All 224 people aboard died as a result of the crash that was classified by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) as a terrorist attack.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands for the resumption of flights.

Negotiations between the two countries to resume Russian flights to Egypt have been ongoing for months, with multiple visits by Russian security to Egyptian airports to monitor changes implemented by Cairo.

In late October, Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said biometric airport equipment recommended by Russian inspectors to improve Egyptian airport security is due to arrive by mid-November. 

Fathy told Russian journalists on the first anniversary of the deadly crash that "we [Egypt] will then contact our Russian colleagues and discuss our next steps."

The return of Russian flights to Egypt would mean the country could once again receive large numbers of Russian tourists to boost its ailing tourism industry, which is a major source of much needed foreign currency for Cairo.

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