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Progress has been made on the resumption of flights between Russia and Egypt following high-level meetings between the two countries’ aviation officials.
Russia said talks with Egypt on civil aviation security cooperation have undergone significant progress as Cairo seeks the resumption of air traffic between the two countries.
Moscow grounded all civilian passenger flights to Egypt last year over security concerns after the crash of a Russian jet over Sinai shortly after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh. All 224 people on board were killed in the crash, which was claimed by Islamist militants. Britain also halted flights to Sharm El-Sheikh following the crash, with the suspensions dealing a huge blow to the country’s vital tourism industry.
According to Ahram Online, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi was in Moscow along with a high-level security delegation to conduct talks over the return of Russian flights.
The Egyptian minister and Russian Deputy Transport Minister discussed “in detail” the course of working on a draft agreement on cooperation between the Egyptian and Russian government in civil aviation security.
Both sides expressed mutual interest in the need to continue close cooperation in the full implementation of necessary security measures to ensure safe flight operations to and from Egyptian airports.
They also discussed if there was any need to send more Russian experts to inspect airports in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
In their meeting with the Egyptian authorities, the high-level security delegation requested allocating a terminal for Russian tourists, a security source at the airport told Ahram Arabic website. The Egyptian authorities said that the request was sent to the aviation and transportation ministries along with the security apparatus for consideration. In August, the aviation minister confirmed to Ahram Online that Egypt was willing to allocate special terminals for Russian tourists “if their numbers reached three or four million.”
The recent meeting came as Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov is expected in Cairo to meet with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Cairo says investigations into the crash are still underway and that a delegation of Russian investigators is currently cooperating with Egypt’s general prosecution, which will issue a final report on the cause of the crash.