Russian transport minister Maxim Sokolov (Photo Courtesy of Russian Presidential Press and Information Office)
Egypt and Russia are set to sign a joint intergovernmental agreement on airport security during the Egyptian civil aviation minister’s visit to Moscow in February, Russian transport minister Maxim Sokolov announced on Friday, though he did not speak on the details of the agreement.
“We are currently preparing for a meeting upon a request by the Egyptian side. I can’t determine a specific date for this meeting,” Sokolov said in statements to Russian news agency Sputnik.
Earlier last week, spokesman for the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) Sergei Izvolsky told Russian news agency TASS that Fathy will visit Moscow to participate in the National Civil Aviation Infrastructure Exhibition, which will be held under the auspices of Rosaviatsiya.
According to Izvolsky, Fathy will “take part in the exhibition’s plenary meeting and speak on the measures that Egyptian authorities have been taking to create conditions to resume air service between our countries.”
Egypt has been implementing tighter security measures at its airports since a Russian passenger flight crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport in October 2015.
Russia suspended passenger flights to Egypt shortly after the crash.
Sokolov said on Friday that a delegation of Russian experts is set to visit Egypt in February for an inspection of Cairo International Airport, pointing out that this could be the final such visit before passenger flights are resumed between the two countries.
In mid January, a team of Russian experts arrived in Egypt for a security inspection of the Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada international airports.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for downing the Russian flight in 2015, which killed all 224 people on board. Egyptian investigations into the cause of the crash are still ongoing.
A number of European countries that suspended flights to Sharm El-Sheikh following the 2015 crash have recently reinstated direct flights to the South Sinai tourist hotspot.
On Tuesday, Germany lifted the last set of restrictions on direct flights from Germany to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Russia, which led European countries in sending tourists to Egypt prior to the crash, has conducted several inspections of Egyptian airport security measures in preparation for the resumption of flights.
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in late December that flights would resume soon.