SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 1 August 2021, Sunday |

Russia lifts ban on tourist flights to Egypt

President Vladimir Putin today scrapped Russia’s ban on charter flights to Egypt , six years after suspending them for national security seasons in the aftermath of a plane crash, Reuters reports.

The flights were stopped after a Metrojet plane taking Russian holiday makers back from Sharm El-Sheikh to St Petersburg broke up over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, killing all 224 onboard.

Russia concluded the plane was destroyed by a bomb. A group affiliated with Daesh claimed responsibility.

Putin’s decree lifting the ban will be a boon for Egypt’s year-round resorts in Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada which attracted large numbers of Russians in the past.

Russia and Egypt agreed to resume all flights in a call in April between Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egypt’s presidency said at the time.

Egypt expects more than one million Russian tourists during 2021 as direct flights between the two countries resume, Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby announced   at the time.

Egypt’s tourism revenues plunged 70 per cent due to the coronavirus crisis last year, marking total revenue of $4 billion. The industry accounts for up to 15 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).