Moscow, Cairo work to resume direct flights in February - minister

Elias Hubbard
December 15, 2017

After 26 months of suspending direct flights between Egypt and Russian Federation, a glimpse of hope flavors Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi's visit to Moscow on Thursday, as he seeks to finalize procedures needed to settle the issue permanently.

Tourism revenues make up 11.5 percent of the total national GDP of Egypt, according to the ministry of tourism, and it is estimated the suspension cost Egypt's tourism industry $4 million per day.

"Russian security services have reported to me that we are prepared to reopen direct flights between Moscow and Cairo", Putin said.

"Today we can say with confidence that with the first half of February 2018, flights between Russian Federation and Egypt will resume, this can happen if there are not any negative incidents", Sokolov said, speaking to the television channel Russian Federation 24.

President Vladimir Putin on a visit to Cairo on Monday said the deal on the resumption of flights could be signed "in the nearest time" and praised Egypt's efforts to boost security at its airports.

The Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, was returning Russian tourists from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg when it crashed over the Sinai Peninsula and killed all 224 on board. Last month, Russia approved a draft agreement with Egypt to allow Russian warplanes to use Egyptian military bases.

Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi headed to Moscow on Thursday to meet with his Russian counterpart to finalize the agreement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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