Russian technical experts will soon assess Egypt’s airport security in preparation for the resumption of flights to Egypt, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said Tuesday.
This came following an invitation by Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy to Russia earlier this week after his meeting with Russian minister of Transportation Maksim Sokolov. Russia will submit a protocol of security cooperation to Egypt, of which the details are yet to be announced, the ministry’s statement added.
Russia has addressed Egypt’s airport security issues and prompted improvements, which Egypt has been undertaking in the past months. Egypt tried to reassure its counterparts by showing understanding of their concerns and allowing several foreign delegations to coordinate and inspect ongoing progress at airports.
Also in July, Egyptian parliament speaker Ali Abdul Aal was in Russia where he stated that it is about time flights are resumed, since Egypt has already implemented 85% of Russia’s demands regarding flight safety recommendations.
Russia, along with the United Kingdom (UK), suspended flights to Egypt in the aftermath of an attack claimed by Islamic State, which brought down a Russian passenger flight on 31 October 2015. The plane was flying from Sharm El-Sheikh and crashed over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
Egypt’s tourism sector was severely hit by travel bans, especially from Russia. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of tourists from Russia decreased by 61.3%, tourists from the UK fell 12.9%, and from Germany and Italy 10% and 4.2% respectively. Overall, a 51.7% decline in tourism occurred between 2015 and 2016, according to data from May 2016 by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics.