Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

Russian Federation and Egypt to resume direct flights after two-year break

The air traffic will resume on February 1, 2018, according to the report.

Russian transport minister Maksim Sokolov and Egyptian civil aviation minister Sherif Fathy signed an agreement on aviation security that "is the first step for the resumption of flights between our countries", the Moscow ministry said.

The move will put an end to the long-lasting negotiations between Russian Federation and Egypt, which have been underway since late 2015.

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Following the downing of a Russian passenger plane in Sinai in October 2015 - which killed all 224 people on board and was claimed as a terrorist attack by an IS-affiliated group - Russia suspended flights to the country.

The Russian decision was a blow to Egypt's tourism industry, which has already been suffering since 2011 due to political turmoil following the ouster of two heads of state. The influx of Russian tourists in Egypt had always been crucial to the sector and a key source of hard currency.

The aviation officials say they expect Russian flights to resume by early 2018. It was his second visit to Egypt in as many years, and Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi appeared keen to cement their countries' ties, which have deepened in recent years as Moscow has expanded its reach across the region.

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Russia, however, is not yet talking about resuming charter flights to Egyptian resorts on the Red Sea, once a popular destination for Russian tourists, Sokolov said, adding that this would be "the next stage" of negotiations.

Sami Mahmoud, a tourism expert and former chief of Egypt's Tourism Promotion Authority, ruled out the interrelation between the power plant agreement and the flight resumption between Egypt and Russian Federation. The numbers greatly declined after the Russian plane crash in 2015.

The two resorts have borne the brunt of the Russian ban, according to Egyptian media.

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