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CAIRO, September 8. /TASS/. Russian aviation safety experts who arrived for an inspection to Cairo met on Wednesday with Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathi.
The sides discussed "the program of the Russian delegation’s visit to the Egyptian capital city which will include an inspection of the Cairo international airport and further steps to prepare a plan of resumption of regular air service between the two countries," the Egyptian ministry said, adding that the meeting was attended by Egyptian aviation safety experts.
The Russian technical group includes five experts who met, shortly after arrival, with officers of Egypt’s law enforcement and air safety agencies of the interior and civil aviation ministries.
During the inspection trip scheduled for September 10, experts will check security measures taken at the Cairo international airport, including the new equipment. Subject to inspection will be systems of passenger, cabin baggage and luggage screening systems, equipment used to lift luggage to planes’ luggage compartments, and luggage distribution and control devices in the pickup area.
Earlier, the Egyptian authorities pledged state-of-the-art video surveillance and luggage check systems had been installed at airports in Cairo and in resort cities. The country spent more than 46 million U.S. dollars to modernize its airports.
Thus, airports have been equipped with special radar surveillance cameras covering an area of up to three kilometers that are capable to tracing moving objects and detect explosives and drugs. Apart from that, waiting areas in airports are being equipped with high resolution cameras capable of storing data within three months. It will make it possible to track the movement of passengers and luggage and timely inform security service in case of suspicion. More to it, the Egyptian side has introduced automated personnel access systems to airports’ service areas. A special officer is on watch to see to it that personal access cards are used only by their holders.
Earlier, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov said that only the Cairo airport will be opened for Russian tourists at first. But before that, in his words, Russian specialists are to conduct an audit check to recognize this airport as safe. He told TASS that the September inspection will not be the final one. It will be followed by a visit by a high-level delegation.
Russia has been negotiating resumption of air service with Egypt since late 2015. Russia suspended air service with Egypt following the crash of a Russian A321 passenger jet in Sinai. The jet owned by Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier (flight 9268) bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. It fell down 100 kilometers south of the administrative center of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. There were four Ukrainian and one Belarusian nationals among the passengers. None survived.
In November, it was announced that the crash had been caused by an act of terror committed by means of a home-made explosive devise with a yield of up to one kilogram of TNT.