Moscow is determined to resume charter flights to Egyptian resorts, but the safety of Russians remains in the first place, Russian Ambassador in Cairo Georgy Borisenko told Russian journalists on Tuesday.
He spoke about the ongoing inspection trip by a Russian delegation of specialists from the Ministry of Transport and security experts. "Since airport operations were suspended last spring due to the pandemic, it was important to make sure everything was functioning smoothly," he said. - "If the overall assessment is positive, it will allow us to think about restoring direct charter traffic between the two countries."
The Ambassador stressed that for the Russian side the safety of compatriots remains a priority. "The overall situation in the Middle East remains difficult, there are extremist groups operating in the region and Egypt, and we cannot ignore these factors," Borisenko said. - "We expect that Egypt will take the strictest approach to ensure the safety of Russians not only at airports but also at the resorts themselves. We should not allow the terrorist attack of 2015 in Sinai to happen again, so we keep working with law enforcement agencies". The main thing is to ensure that security schemes are maintained at a high level and there are no failures, the diplomat said.
Despite the no charter communication between Russia and Egypt, 30 thousand Russians rested in the Red Sea resorts in 2020, in 2019 - 150 thousand, said Borisenko. In 2010, the most effective year for the country in terms of tourism, Egypt was visited by about 4 million Russians.
Work of Russian experts in Egyptian resorts
On January 27 a group of 17 Russian experts arrived in Egypt to check the security of international airports in Egyptian resort towns. Until February 4, they work in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. Specialists are checking security systems of air harbors of Red Sea resorts: the procedures of passenger security from the entrance to the airport building and before boarding, the system of luggage inspection, filling the aircraft with fuel and food before takeoff, as well as tracking the process of entry and exit of workers and the functionality of security cameras. One of the remarks of the Russian side last time was the term for storing the recordings on video cameras, which was 48 hours. The experts called attention to the need to keep all recordings for at least 72 hours. The task of experts is also to familiarize with the safety of tourists in resorts.
In January 2020, the experts conducted a regular inspection of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, and then in Cairo expressed hope that it will be the final before the preparation of the final report on the safety of Egyptian airports and the possible opening of charter flights.
Air traffic between Russia and Egypt was completely interrupted in November 2015 after the crash of a plane of the Russian company "Kogalymavia" flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Sinai. There were 217 passengers and seven crew members on board, all of whom died. The FSB qualified the incident as a terrorist attack.
In January 2018, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree resuming regular flights to Cairo. The first flight from Moscow took place in April of the same year. Charter flights to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh are still closed. In recent years, the Egyptian side has improved the system of screening, control and inspection of passengers and luggage, as well as significantly upgraded the airport infrastructure.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Creative Commons
Based on materials from TASS