Egypt, Russia agree on roadmap for resumption of flights - minister

Monday 22-08-2016 05:14 PM

Remains of the Russian airplane that crashed over the Sinai in October, 2015

CAIRO, Aug 22 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt and Russia agreed on a roadmap for the resumption of Russian flights and tourism to Egypt, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said on Monday.

Fathy said in a press conference that the roadmap includes the arrival of a number of delegations to inspect resorts, hotels and airports’ security.

A Russian delegation is expected to arrive on 29 August to check security at Cairo, Sharm al-Sheikh and Hurgada airports, the minister said.

The delegation will determine whether Russian flights to Egypt will be resumed.

Fathy said that a delegation from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will arrive in Egypt by the end of 2016 for the annual inspection on airports.

Moscow suspended all flights to Egypt in the wake of a crash that took place in the Sinai peninsula last October, killing all 224 on board. The plane was heading from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Russia.

The flights have been suspended since then, pending an investigation into the crash.

The number of tourists coming to Egypt fell by 51.7 per cent in July, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), which attributed the drop to the decline in the number of Russian tourists coming to Egypt.

The biggest drop in tourism was recorded last June when the number of tourists declined by 59.9 per cent, compared to the same month in 2015, according CAPMAS.

The finance minister said earlier in August that tourism losses in the last 10 months were the worst in 15 years.

The Egyptian state has been trying to revive the sector, a main source of hard currency, since a popular uprising in 2011 triggered years of political turmoil, taking a heavy toll on tourism.

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