Russia will send a trial flight to Cairo International airport after it suspended its direct flights to Egypt almost a year ago.
A professional committee will be on board the flight to assess security measures to consider the resumption of suspended direct flights, according to the spokesperson for the Duma’s committee on transport. The date of the flight has not yet been announced.
Citing the spokesperson, Russian news agency Sputnik said that this trial flight could lift the ban on direct flights to Egypt, and this is why it will be heading to Cairo’s airport.
Russian transportation minister said on Saturday that the suspended flights will not be resumed to all of Egypt’s airports, but rather just to those that have imposed sufficient security measures.
A Russian delegation is set to visit Egypt at the end of August in order to assess the security measures undertaken by Egyptian authorities at airports. Two Russian delegations have already visited Egypt this month. The first delegation reviewed security measures in hotels and resorts in cities along the Red Sea, and the other followed up on investigations into the downing of the Russian aeroplane in Sinai in October 2015.
At the end of the Russian delegation’s visit, they are expected to issue a report that will include Russia’s decision as to whether the ban on direct flights from Russia to Egypt will be lifted.
In October 2015, a Russian aeroplane crashed shortly after it took off from Sharm El-Sheikh’s airport. All 224 passengers and crew on board were killed in the crash.
Russia suspended its direct flights to Egypt in light of the crash, and the United Kingdom and Germany also suspended their flights.
Tourism to Egypt has significantly declined following the 25 January Revolution amid ongoing political turmoil. However, the rate declined even further since the aeroplane crash, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal visited Russia in July to urge authorities to resume direct flights, stressing that 85% of the security measures demanded by Russia have been implemented in Egypt’s airports. Russia, however, says that the desired security level has not yet been achieved.