Egypt, Russia restart flights after 2-year hiatus

Connections resume between Cairo and Moscow; no deal yet on flights to Egyptian resorts

Cairo: Egypt and Russia on Thursday resumed flights between Cairo and Moscow, ending a Russian ban of more than two years prompted by a deadly plane crash in Sinai.

A commercial plane of the Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot landed at the Cairo airport with 125 passengers aboard, sources said. The airport’s senior officials welcomed the passengers on arrival and gave them flowers amid tight security, the sources added.

Hours later, an EgyptAir flight left Cairo for Moscow with 109 passengers on board, the sources added.

Egypt and Russia have yet to say when charter Russian flights will resume to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm Al Shaikh that have been hard hit by the Russian ban.

In October 2015, a Russian passenger plane crashed in Egypt’s Sinai shortly after take-off from Sharm Al Shaikh, killing all 224 on board.

The downing, claimed by the Daesh, prompted Russia to halt direct flights to Egypt.

The ban has dealt a harsh blow to Egypt’s ailing tourism, a major source of the national income.

Egypt has since upgraded and tightened security at its airports.

Russians accounted for 31 per cent of the 10 million tourists who visited Egypt in 2014, according to official figures.

In December last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Egypt, signalling warm ties between both countries.


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