Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Friday that Moscow hopes flights to Egypt will be restored by the beginning of summer, reported the state news agency TASS.
Bogdanov added that Russia and Egypt are actively working in this direction.
“Work is in progress, let’s hope flights will resume by the summer,” he said. “Security specialists are cooperating closely. Now we have reached the final stage of the talks.”
Former Egyptian foreign minister Mohamed Kamal Amr visited Russia last week, during which Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Egypt and Russia agreed to take further measures to restore flights between both countries within the tightest possible deadline, on the condition that security measures are observed.
“We touched upon the question of resuming direct flights between our countries in order to help bolster tourism, which has declined for obvious reasons,” said Lavrov.
Both sides agreed to restore flights as soon as possible “provided the highest security standards are guaranteed for Russian citizens”.
“We appreciate the contacts that have been established and are continuing between the civil aviation services and other concerned authorities in Russia and Egypt with the aim to complete these procedures, so as to resume direct flights without delay,” Lavrov added.
Russia is building a new consulate in Hurghada in order to facilitate services offered to its citizens and hopes to improve its tourism influx to Cairo.
A Russian A321 plane operated by Kogalymavia crashed in Sinai in late October, killing all 224 people on board, the majority of whom were Russians.
Moscow announced in November that the crash was due to an act of terrorism, but Egypt insisted that the cause cannot be concluded until the investigation is complete.
Kogalymavia was banned Wednesday by Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia from operating domestic and international flights. According to TASS, the ban is due to “discrepancies and violations, primarily in the carrier’s financial and economic performance affecting flight safety”.
Russia’s Federal Tax Service has also filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing it of bankruptcy.