Cairo international Airport terminal 2 (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt's ambassador to Russia, Ehab Nasr, said on Tuesday that the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt is now a matter for the airlines to arrange, with Russian national carrier Aeroflot and its Egyptian counterpart EgyptAir engaged in talks on the matter, Reuters reported.
Nasr stated that all that remains is for Aeroflot and EgyptAir to agree on the details among themselves, something the ambassador hopes will be "possible".
Moscow grounded all commercial passenger flights to Egypt in 2015 over security concerns after a Russian Airbus A321 crashed in Sinai shortly after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh. All 224 people on board were killed in the crash.
Russian investigators said the aircraft had been brought down by a bomb that was planted on board.
Egypt has since boosted security procedures at many of its airports in response to Russian conditions for the resumption of flights to and from Russia.
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving the resumption of commercial air traffic between Russia and Cairo.
According to a protocol signed in Moscow between Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi and Russian Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov, direct flights between Moscow and Cairo were set to resume in February.
Another round of talks between Egyptian and Russian officials is planned to take place in April to discuss the resumption of charter flights from Russia to the Red Sea resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.
The crash of the Russian flight in 2015 has dealt a blow to Egypt's tourism industry, a major source of hard currency, with tourist numbers dropping by some 50 percent in the first half of 2016 year-on-year.
Russians used to make up the largest single tourist group in Egypt, contributing to about a fifth of foreign vacationers in the country as of 2015, according to official data.