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9 Feb, 2016 15:03

Russia may restart flights to Egypt in first half of 2016

Russia may restart flights to Egypt in first half of 2016

Direct flights between Russia and Egypt could resume in the near future once security measures are in place, according to unnamed high-ranking sources cited by Gazeta.ru

Moscow stopped all direct flights to Egypt after the terrorist downing of a passenger plane on October 31 which killed 224 Russian tourists and crew.

A final decision hasn’t been taken but Moscow is no longer categorically against the renewal of flights, the sources said.

Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal confirmed the countries are currently discussing the resumption of flights.

Meanwhile, tour operators have already requested slots for charter flights to Egypt for the 2016 spring-summer season.

After meeting with President Abdel Fattah Sisi in Cairo last month, State Duma Chairman Sergey Naryshkin announced that Moscow could soon lift the travel ban.

"Right now, experts and aviation authorities from our countries, as well as our security services are working hard to develop a set of measures that would ensure the safety of Russian tourists," said Naryshkin.

In January, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviation completed inspecting Egyptian airports. It sent recommendations to Egypt’s aviation authorities regarding additional security measures.

Egypt was the second most popular international destination among Russians after Turkey. Statistics from the Russian Tour Operators Association show that up to 250,000 Russian holiday makers visited Egypt every month in 2015 prior to the flight ban.