Egypt will finalise its security measures in airports by the end of 2016, after installing a biometric employee access system, in order to monitor staff arrival and departure. Nearly all of the additional measures that were requested by the Russian experts have been implemented, according to Russia’s transport minister Maksim Sokolov.
The cessation of flights between the two countries took place in November 2015, following the Russian Metrojet aeroplane crash in Sinai in October 2015, which killed all 224 passengers on board. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident; however, investigations remain ongoing.
“Egyptian colleagues have been making rapid progress in resolving all security issues and concerns. I think that next year, we will fully get back to the passenger flow we used to have,” Sokolov told Russian news agency TASS.
Sokolov added that Egypt will send Russian security experts a formal invitation once the comprehensive plan of the Egyptian side is fulfilled. When the invitation is received, it will take a week for Russian representatives to arrive.
Tourism, which is a cornerstone of the Egyptian economy and a critical source of hard currency, contributed 11.4% to Egypt’s total GDP and 10.5% of employment in 2015.
In 2010, more than 14 million tourists visited Egypt, which dramatically dropped to 9.3 million in 2015, and dropped by an additional 40% in the months that followed the crash. Around 3 million Russian tourists visited Egypt annually, which dropped by 75% following the cessation of flights.
On the other hand, four airlines have applied for flights between Egypt and Russia, namely from Moscow to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, according to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency.