SOCHI, June 1. /TASS/. The Russian Transport Ministry will be able to talk on gradual resumption of direct air service with Egypt only after security checks at all Egyptian airports are conducted, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) member states’ transport ministers.
"This issue will in any case be considered only when we check the readiness of each airport from the viewpoint of air safety for the passengers," the minister said.
According to Sokolov, the Russian Transport Ministry has no new information on this matter yet.
Last week, Sokolov said that Egyptian airports pledged to fulfill Russia’s aviation security requirements by the end of the first half of 2016.
Sokolov said on May 25 that the Russian Transport Ministry had not received any response to Russia’s complaints about security at Egyptian airports. He earlier said that Russian aviation authorities were in constant contact with the Egyptian colleagues, and "the dialogue is constructive." The last inspection was carried out at Egyptian airports in the second half of April, Egyptian colleagues have received recommendations of Russian specialists and are working on analyzing them.
Russia and a number of other countries suspended air service with Egypt after a Russian passenger plane crashed over Sinai in October 2015.
The A321 plane belonging to Russia’s air company Kogalymavia was en route from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to St. Petersburg in Russia when it crashed over the Sinai Peninsula early on October 31 last year. All the 224 people onboard, including 217 passengers and the seven-member crew, died. Russian Federal Security Service said the plane crashed as a result of a terrorist attack. Moscow demanded that Egypt strengthen security at its airports.
On November 6, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin supported a proposal made by Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia to suspend air service with Egypt.
At present, Kazakhstan has resumed passenger flights to Egypt, and Italy has partially reopened air service with the country.