Russia Set to Resume Civilian Flights to Egypt for First Time Since 2015 Tourist Jet Bombing

Russia halted civilian air traffic to Egypt in 2015 after militants detonated a bomb on a Russian Metrojet flight, downing the jet leaving from Egypt's tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and killing 224 people on board

Russian emergency services personnel and Egyptian servicemen working at the crash site of a A321 Russian airliner in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, November 2, 2015.
AFP

Egypt's aviation minister will travel to Russia to sign protocol agreements to allow the resumption of Russian civilian flights that were suspended after the 2015 bombing of a tourist jet, Egyptian sources and Russia's minister said on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his counterpart Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo this week to discuss resuming flights and to sign a deal for a nuclear power plant as part of growing bilateral cooperation.

The two governments may sign a deal on Friday allowing to resume Russian civilian flights, the TASS news agency cited Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying on Thursday.  

"We expect that he (the Egyptian minister) will come on Friday," Sokolov said, according to the RIA news agency. Asked whether an aviation security protocol with Egypt will be signed, he said: "We expect that it will be signed." 

Moscow halted civilian air traffic to Egypt in 2015 after militants detonated a bomb on a Russian Metrojet flight, downing the jet leaving from the tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and killing 224 people on board. 

The bombing and the Russian suspension were blows to Egypt's tourism industry, a key source of hard currency. The industry has been struggling after the upheaval triggered by a 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The return of Russian flights and tours could be a massive boost to tourist numbers that are still well below the 14.7 million visitors annually Egypt saw in 2010 before the uprising a year later and the unrest that followed.