Russia expects Egypt to sign a newly prepared aviation security agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Russian news agency TASS on January 29, 2018. Signing the security protocol will allow Russia to resume flights to Egypt after a two-year-long hiatus.

“Initially, we said that there should be a security agreement,” he said. “It has been prepared. I believe that Egypt is ready to sign it, otherwise the discussion would not have resumed,” Dvorkovich commented.

On January 4, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on resuming flights between Russia and Egypt. As a precondition for the resumption of air travel, Russia demanded considerably tightening security measures at Egyptian airports.

All flights between the two countries were cancelled in November, 2015, following the explosion of an A320 jet, belonging to the Russian carrier Metrojet, over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. The incident occurred less than half an hour after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport. It was reported that 217 passengers and seven crew members died in the explosion. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) later called the incident a terrorist attack.

Timeframe for resuming flights

Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said regular flights between Moscow and Cairo could resume mid-February, TASS reports. Earlier, Aeroflot also announced it is looking forward to start flying the route. “We are preparing now and hope to sign a security protocol. Our security functions are working in cooperation with Cairo services. We can actually start flights in late February, if all security papers are signed,” CEO of the Russian flag carrier Vitaly Savelyev told TASS. The protocol would be signed by a special working group, he added.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation following a meeting of its director Sheriff Fathi with his Russian counterpart Sokolov, airlines themselves would be allowed to make decisions on the frequency of flights and the cost of air tickets, based on market conditions. Aeroflot’s Savelyev did not detail the expected number of weekly flights, emphasizing that the carrier must first be sure the security in Cairo is at a high level. Ticket selling for Aeroflot flights can only start after signing the security agreement. Meanwhile, Egypt’s flag carrier Egypt Air told TASS earlier that it plans to perform three flights to Moscow weekly.