The talks on resumption of air service between Russia and Egypt’s resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada will be launched at the end of spring or in the beginning of summer this year, Russia’s Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said Wednesday.
“We have agreed with colleagues that after studying the accumulated experience we will meet for talks to consider further options of our cooperation,” he said, adding that such talks are expected within 2-3 months after restart of flights between Moscow and Cairo, meaning “at the end of spring or in the beginning of summer.”
Earlier this week Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathi said that experts from Russia and Egypt would meet to discuss the resumption of air service between Russia and Egyptian resort cities in May.
On April 11, direct regular flights between the capitals of Egypt and Russia – Cairo and Moscow – were resumed after a break of almost two and a half years. Last Wednesday the first flight by Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot delivered more than 120 passengers to Cairo. Aeroflot and EgyptAir are the only airlines scheduled to operate regular flights between Russia and Egypt. Both plan to carry out three weekly return flights.
Before air service between the two countries was suspended, the two air carriers operated two weekly flights. However, Aeroflot has plans to perform daily flights on the route during the Russia-hosted 2018 FIFA World Cup.
All flights between Russia and Egypt were cancelled in November 2015 after a Russian A321 passenger jet owned by Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31, 2015 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crewmembers. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) qualified the tragedy as a terrorist attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on resuming regular flights between Russia and Egypt on January 4. As a precondition for the resumption of flights, Russia called for considerably tightening security measures at Egyptian airports. It took two months to resolve technical issues and ensure the presence of Russian security personnel at Cairo airport. Before resuming air service, Russia and Egypt developed a package of security measures. On December 15, 2017, Sokolov and Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathi signed a special protocol on civil aviation security cooperation.