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Russian carrier Aeroflot will resume flights to Egypt in late February

Russia's flag carrier can start flying again to Cairo from the end of February [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 January, 2018

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Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot can start flying again from Moscow to Cairo from the end of February, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian flag carrier Vitaly Savelyev told reporters Tuesday.
Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot can start flying again from Moscow to Cairo from the end of February, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian flag carrier Vitaly Savelyev told reporters on Tuesday.

"We are preparing now and hope to sign a security protocol. Our security functions are working in cooperation with Cairo services. We can actually start flights in late February, if all security papers are signed," the top manager said, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Moscow introduced a ban on flights to Egypt nation following the downing of a Russian airliner in Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 passengers, mostly Russian holidaymakers. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the crash.

Egyptian authorities had announced readiness to resume flights from February 3 but ticket sales for Aeroflot flights can only start after signing the security protocol signing, Savelyev said, without specifying the number of weekly flights.

"We must be sure that security in Cairo is at a high level," the CEO added.

Egypt’s flag carrier EgyptAir told TASS earlier that it is plans to schedule three flights to the Russian capital each week.

Air traffic between Russia and Egypt can start in mid-February, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov said earlier.

The announcement comes a month after Russian president Vladimir Putin met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo for talks on defence and trade ties.

The pair have notably been strengthening bilaterial relations as of late. During Putin's visit, they signed a contract for the construction of Egypt's first nuclear plant, as well as reportedly discussing the resumption of flights.

Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 travelling from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in the Sinai killing all 224 passengers on board.
Egypt and Russia moved to strengthen bilateral ties in recent months 
[Getty]

Russian security personnel visited Egypt in August 2017 to check on security procedures at Egypt's airports that were implemented by the government in cooperation with international security companies, an Egyptian aviation official told Daily News Egypt.

Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 travelling from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in the Sinai killing all 224 passengers on board.

It is thought that militants from the so-called Islamic State group, who claimed responsibility for the attack, planted a bomb on the tourist jet at Sharm el Sheikh airport.

The suspension of Russian flights dealt a devastating blow to Egypt's tourism industry, paricularly in Sinai resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh. Russian tourist numbers reportedly went down by 60 percent after the plane bombing.

In light of the warming relations between the two countries, Egypt is optimistic about its tourist numbers returning to their 2010 pre-Arab spring peak.

However a series of attacks, along with the persistent presence of an IS-affiliated rebel group in the North Sinai is preventing many European governments from following Russia's lead.

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