Direct Flights to Resume Between Cairo, Moscow in February

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Flights between Russia and Egypt will resume in February, the Russian transport ministry announced Friday, after they were suspended in 2015 following an airliner bombing claimed by the Islamic State group.

Egypt's Minister of Aviation Sherif Fathy travelled to Moscow on Thursday to sign the protocols with his Russian counterpart Maxim Sokolov.

Egyptian and Russian officials signed a joint cooperation protocol with regards to airport security aiming to resume flights between the countries on February 1 2018 after a two-year hiatus, the Russian Transport Ministry said in a news release according to state-run TASS.

The move will put an end to the long-lasting negotiations between Russian Federation and Egypt, which have been underway since late 2015.

Russian tour operators said Friday's agreement was unlikely to immediately restart mass tourism from Russia to Egypt, with direct flights only to Cairo rather than resort destinations.

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"I expect the resumption of Russian direct flights to Egyptian resorts in April 2018, or even before that", Battouty said, adding that resuming flights between Moscow and Cairo is just the beginning.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing tighter security measures in its airports to meet Russian demands, with the aim of restoring Russian tourism.

Two Egyptian sources said the minister would leave on Thursday for Russian Federation. Russia's ban has crippled Egypt's ailing tourism industry, a main source of national income.

Employing about 4 million people, the tourism sector brought Egypt around 13 billion US dollars in 2010 as over 14.7 million tourists visited the country, including about 3 million Russians. The influx of Russian tourists in Egypt had always been crucial to the sector and a key source of hard currency.