Russia Is Said to Be Ready for Pact to Resume Cairo Flights

(Bloomberg) -- Russia may restore flights to Cairo in the wake of a visit Monday to Egypt by President Vladimir Putin, two years after it suspended air connections over terrorism, according to a senior Russian official and an industry representative in Moscow.

The agreement on restoring flights to the Egyptian capital could be signed Monday, the official said, declining to be identified because the matter is confidential.

The pact would mark the first easing of Moscow’s ban on air travel between the two countries since it was imposed in 2015 after terrorists blew up a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

A ban will remain on Russian charter flights to the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, though Russia may offer assurances on restarting those services in 2018, said the industry representative, who asked not to be identified.

As many as 3 million Russians visited Egypt annually before the halt to air connections, which deprived the economically struggling Middle East nation of 70 percent of its tourist arrivals.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president will discuss the issue of resuming air services at the talks with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, declining to comment on whether an agreement will be signed. “Everyone wants to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome,” he told reporters.

Aeroflot PJSC spokesman Andrei Sogrin declined to comment on any decision, saying only that the Russian airline is ready to resume flights to Egypt as soon as approval is given. The Russian Transport Ministry couldn’t immediately be reached for a response. Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry didn’t respond to calls or texts.

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