Egypt Independent

Moscow airport pushes back direct flights to Cairo to Feb 20th: website

Moscow Airport’s website has pushed back its scheduled direct flights to Cairo for February 20th, contradicting earlier reports that Russia will be restoring flights to Cairo during the first week of February after the signing of an aviation security agreement.

According to Youm7, an Egyptian local newspaper, Cairo airport received an announcement of the delay from the Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot, adding that tickets for the flights are not officially on sale yet.

Russia’s Domodedovo Airport had announced last week its schedule for its February flights, which included the launch of the first flight to Cairo International Airport in years on February 6.

The schedule included six flights a week, on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

The resumption of flights set for this month will be the first between the two countries since flights were suspended following the downing of Russian carrier Metrojet in Sinai, on its way from Sharm el-Sheikh to the Russian city of St. Petersburg, on October 31, 2015.

The incident claimed the lives of all 217 passengers and seven crew-members onboard. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) later designated the incident as a terrorist attack.

As a precondition for the resumption of flights, Russia called for considerably tightening security measures at Egyptian airports.

Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov and Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi signed a cooperation agreement on civil aviation security in December for the resumption of flights between the two countries.

According to the agreement, the two companies allowed to work between the two countries are the Russian Aeroflot and the Egyptian EgyptAir.

Russian President Vladimir Putin approved in January the resumption of regular air traffic between Moscow and Cairo, taking effect from January 2. However, no official timeline for the resumption was then announced.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich stated that an aviation security agreement between Russia and Egypt has been prepared, and Moscow expects Cairo to sign it.