Egypt Awaits Resumption of Russian Flights to Red Sea Resorts

Flights from Russia to Egyptian resorts may be fully resumed in the near future, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Tuesday, according to Russian news outlet Ponedra.

“Now the flights, at least en route from Moscow to Cairo, have been fully resumed,” Kosachev said in a press statement.

“As for other popular routes, we are close to also resuming these routes in full in accordance with the concerned parties,” he added.

Russia suspended all its flights to Egypt in 2015 after a Russian A320 jet was targeted over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, less than half an hour after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh international airport. The terrorist attack claimed the lives of all 217 passengers and seven crew members. The Russian decision was a major blow to the Egyptian tourism industry, one of the main sources of revenue for the country.

Russia’s decision to resume flights between Moscow and Cairo, which was announced in April last year, didn’t have a clear impact on tourism to Egypt due to the limited number of Russian passengers. This is due to high costs and the long journey to arrive in the Red Sea tourist resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, Egyptian tour operators say.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El Sisi in October in Moscow that he had discussed the resumption of charter flights to famous tourist destinations.

“Egypt is doing everything necessary to ensure security in the aviation sector,” Putin said.

An Egyptian security source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the resumption of Russian charter flights to the Red Sea resorts will take place soon,” especially after Russian security delegations confirmed that Egyptian airports and resorts are ready to receive tourists in line with international insurance standards.

The number of Russian tourists in Egypt reached about 2.8 million in 2015 compared to 3.1 million tourists a year earlier.