Russian flights between Moscow and the Egyptian resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh will resume on August 9, the Russian News Agency Tass announced Saturday.
“From August 9, the number of flights to Europe will be increased, with Moscow-Hurghada and Moscow-Sharm el-Sheikh flights adding up to five flights per week for every route,” the Russian anti-coronavirus crisis center said in a Friday statement.
“Further decisions to increase the number of flights via the above-mentioned routes will be made following a visit of a Russian delegation to Egypt to assess the epidemiological situation.”
Earlier, Russia sent an inter-departmental delegation to Egypt to assess the situation and preventive measures in tourist areas and inspect labs and medical facilities.
The executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia Maya Lomidze said that prices for tours to Egypt for Russians are likely to be high.
“The crisis center’s decision does not clarify what kind of flights will be permitted. With a great deal of certainty, I can suggest that only regular ones [will be permitted] so far. This is a huge step forward for the entire industry, but it is still not enough to say that the flow of tourists will grow rapidly. The thing is that regular flights are more expensive than charter flights. And a very small number of flights has been permitted, which means that prices will be high,” she said.
Flights between Russia and Egypt had been fully suspended in November 2015 after a passenger plane operated by Russia’s Kogalymavia airline travelling from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg exploded over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 217 passengers and seven crewmembers on board.
The FSB qualified the incident as a terror attack.
In January 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order to resume regular flights to Cairo but charter flights to Egyptian resorts remained suspended. Over the past few years, the Egyptian side has dramatically improved its system of checks for passengers and luggage, and tremendously improved its airport infrastructure. On July 8, Putin struck down the order signed in 2015 which banned flights to Egypt’s resorts operated by Russian airlines.