A Russian delegation inspected the two major Egyptian international airports of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada on Thursday to ensure they are adhering to safety and security standards and precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
Sources at the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN) told Al-Ahram that the delegation’s visit is in preparation for the resumption of regular and charter Russian flights to the Red Sea touristic destinations.
The delegation will meet with officials at the Ministry of Civil Aviation before submitting their final report to civil aviation authorities in Russia, in preparation for issuing a final report on the resumption of air traffic between the two countries, the sources said.
The delegation, whose visit started on Wednesday, is scheduled to continue its inspection work for one week.
According to EHCAAN sources, the delegation is composed of 16 members. The first part of the delegation arrived at Hurghada International Airport and comprises seven airport security experts, and the second group, which arrived at Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, comprises nine aviation security experts.
During their inspection tour, the experts checked passengers’ baggage, inspected meals from the moment they were cooked until they were placed on board planes, checked the surveillance systems, inspected airstrip security systems, and reviewed work at the customs departments and the readiness of baggage carousels.
Egypt’s tourism sector has been hit hard by Russia’s suspension of charter flights after the crash of a Russian plane, which killed more than 200 holidaymakers, in 2015.
Russian tourists are one of the main groups that visit Egypt the most for its touristic attractions.
Egypt has allowed multiple inspection visits from Russia to certify its commitment to safety measures and security arrangements.
In 2014, 3 million Russians visited the country, and in 2015, 2.4 million Russians visited Egypt before Moscow suspended all commercial passenger flights to the country over the 2015 incident.
Egypt has worked on upgrading and boosting safety systems at all airports countrywide.
In April 2018, Moscow ended its flight suspension to Cairo.
In March 2020, Russia stopped flights to Egypt over the coronavirus pandemic spread, but they were resumed in September.