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Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Will the Russians resume flights to Egyptian resorts?

Are the Ruskies going to follow the UK’s lead and finally resume flights to Sharm? A delegation of Russian officials is due in town in the next few days to look into resuming flights from Moscow to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, Civil Aviation Minister Younes El Masry said, according to Masrawy. Russia has been cagey for over four years about restoring charter flights to Egypt, despite successive inspections of the Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh airports appearing to indicate that security procedures are up to par. El Masry said he is hopeful that this meeting will see a breakthrough on the flight ban. Industry experts have also said they expect the British government’s decision to end its own ban on flights to the Red Sea last month to nudge Moscow in the same direction.

Background: Russia and the UK had both imposed a flight ban to Sharm El Sheikh Airport after the downing of a Russian airliner in 2015, but Moscow has remained hesitant to give the go-ahead to airlines to return. Russia has used tourism as a pressure point since then and had resumed flights to Egypt (but not to the Red Sea) after inking the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant agreement in 2018.

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