Egypt Independent

Russia, Egypt finalize aviation security protocol: report



Russia and Egypt have agreed on the final version of the aviation security protocol, making it possible for the two countries to resume air traffic, state-owned Russian news agency TASS said on Saturday.

TASS reported Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying that the date and venue for the document signing are the only pending issues.

"[The Egyptian party] has not yet identified the date, the venue and time for signature of this agreement; all other issues have been agreed upon," Sokolov said.

Though the Russian government approved the aviation security protocol between Moscow and Cairo, prepared by the Russian Transport Ministry, no specific timeframe for the resumption of direct flights with Egypt has been identified so far.

In mid-February, the Russian government ratified a protocol with Egypt on maintaining the safety and security of civil aviation, according to a statement on its official website .

The protocol assigned Russian aviation experts to monitor the degree of commitment to safety procedures at Egyptian airports, according to the statement.

Russia laid down its conditions for Egypt-bound flights to run again following the downing of a Russian plane in October 2015, which killed all 224 passengers and crew on board, most of them Russian tourists.

Several countries then demanded that certain security measures be implemented at Egyptian airports for the resumption of direct flights to be considered.

Russia, which had halted all flights to and from Egypt after the 2015 incident, sent several delegations of Russian expert in 2016 to inspect the security measures at Egyptian airports.

Egypt and Russia's ministries of aviation agreed in September 2016 on the development of a joint agreement which stipulates the safety measures that should be followed by Egypt in order for flights to be resumed.

Egypt has been battling to recover the badly-affected tourism sector over the course of 2016, after years of political turmoil since the 25 January uprising.

The tourism crisis was exacerbated by the downing of the Russian plane in October 2015, prompting international charter agencies to cancel their flights to Egypt.