Cairo International Airport receives in April 2018 its first Russian flight in more than two and a half years operated by the flag carrier, Aeroflot (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Tuesday the resumption of charter flights to Egyptian resorts will be announced in the near future, Russian news agency Interfax reported.
In remarks to reporters in Moscow, Bogdanov said the two countries reached a preliminary agreement in this regard during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Cairo earlier this month.
Russia suspended flights to Egypt in 2015 over a Russian plane crash over Sinai, which killed all 224 people on board.
Although Russia has resumed flights to Cairo as per a Russian presidential decree in 2018, charter flights to Egyptian resorts such as Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada are still banned.
Interfax, separately, quoted an aviation source as saying that charter flights may resume to Egyptian resorts after 10 May.
The source said decisions to resume air traffic simultaneously with Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh in the second week of May are being studied.
A tourism industry source told Interfax that there is an increased interest in charter flights to Egypt among Russian tour operators in light of restrictions on flights to Turkish resorts.
He noted that two airlines are planning to resume flights to Egyptian resorts from the international airports of Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo.
Since the 2015 plane crash, Egypt has upgraded and boosted safety systems at all airports countrywide, including screening, control, and check-in of passengers and baggage.
Egypt has also allowed multiple inspection visits from Russian security experts to certify its safety measures and security arrangements at various airports.
Prior to the plane crash, Russian tourists comprised one of the largest tourist groups to Egypt.
In remarks to Russia’s TASS a day before Lavrov’s visit, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed that Egypt has done its “utmost to reach the top level of security” at Egyptian airports and resorts.
Shoukry also affirmed that the country has taken all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in resort cities.
The Egyptian FM expressed hopes that Russia takes a prompt decision to resume flights to Egyptian resorts.
In a press conference after their Cairo meeting, Shoukry and Lavrov did not mention any plans for the resumption of charter flights.