By Ahmed Abbas
Top Russian airline Aeroflot will suspend flights to and from Egypt from 1 December 2015 to 27 March 2016, the company’s press service reported Friday.
“Given the ban by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency on passenger flights to Egypt since 6 November 2015, Aeroflot has been flying passengers solely in one direction — from Egypt to Russia. The plan is to gradually reduce and temporarily suspend flights between Moscow and Egyptian airports until the end of winter schedule on 27 March 2016,” the statement read.
The Russian company also suspended flights to Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh and urged Russians already in Egypt to change their travel date if it is after 1 December.
Further, Russian authorities suspended EgyptAir from landing in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, where the airline had three flights a week.
Egypt received an official notification from Russia on the suspension of flights to Moscow starting 14 November, Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal said on Friday. The reservations made earlier will now be transferred to other airlines.
An official letter on the termination of flights was handed in to the head of EgyptAir’s office in Moscow, Russian official agency TASS reported.
Russia’s ambassador to Cairo Sergei Kirpichenko told a local television channel that those cancellations of EgyptAir flights to Russia were “temporary security measures”.
A decree previously signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin banned all Russian airlines from landing in Egyptian airports in the wake of the crashed Russian A321 aircraft in Sinai. In order to compensate, Egypt Air was studying the ability to increase flights to Moscow.
Metrojet Russian A321 plane crashed in Sinai on 31 October, killing all 224 mainly Russians persons on board. “Islamic State”-affiliated group claimed responsibility but no evidence has been revealed yet.