Russia-Egypt Flights Resume after 30-month Hiatus

Egypt sent its first civilian flight to Moscow on Thursday following a suspension of some two and a half years, EgyptAir, Egypt’s flagship national carrier, has announced.

According to AP, EgyptAir said in a statement its operations to Moscow had officially resumed with three flights per week — on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday — to the Russian capital.

Early Thursday, the first Russian flight since the suspension was lifted arrived in Cairo from Moscow carrying 125 passengers.

Moscow suspended flights after the 2015 attack claimed by the Islamic State terror group, in which an A321 plane belonging to Russian charter company Metrojet crashed into the Sinai desert on its way from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg, killing 224 passengers and crew.

Last December, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi and Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov signed an aviation security agreement in a first step towards resuming flights between the two countries.

Egypt is hoping the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Egypt will see an influx of tourists in 2018 that will restore its beleaguered tourism sector.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on January 4 for the resumption of flights between Mos­cow and Cairo. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said direct commercial flights could resume in mid-February.

Also in January, in a push to raise awareness of Egypt’s tourist attractions amongst Russians, state news agency RIA Novosti published a collection of photos of the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), aiming to attract Russian tourists to visit Egypt.