ST. PETERSBURG, November 7 /TASS/. Urals Airlines brought 200 Russian tourists from Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg on Saturday evening. The plane landed at Pulkovo international airport at 23:20 Moscow time, a source at the city committee for development of tourism told TASS.
Three planes left St. Petersburg for Egypt on Saturday to pick up Russian tourists. One of them stopped over in Turkey to disembark the people who had rebooked their tours from Egypt to Antalya in Turkey.
The first Urals Airlines plane landed at Pulkovo airport at 22:50 Moscow time with 200 tourists from Hurghada, another popular tourist destination in Egypt. The third plane was expected to arrive in St. Petersburg at around midnight.
According to the city committee for tourism, about 12,500 vacationers from St. Petersburg left Egypt between 0ctober 23 and November 6. Between 3,500 and 4,000 Russian tourists, including 500 people who bought tours at St. Petersburg firms, return from Egypt daily. They will be flown to St Petersburg in the end of their vacation. According to Nana Gvichiya, the deputy head of the city committee for development of tourism, all the holiday-makers who went to Egypt between late October and early November will return home before November 25. "November 25 is the latest when the residents of St. Petersburg are supposed to return home from their vacation in Egypt," Gvichiya told journalists.
Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with recommendations of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee to suspend all air flights to Egypt on November 5. Putin’s Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov explained the measure would be in force not just until the end of investigation into the A321 plane crash over the Sinai Peninsula but also until proper security standards were guaranteed on trips to Egypt.
President Putin also stressed the need to help the Russians vacationing in Egypt to return home.
The A321 plane belonging to Russia’s air company Kogalymavia was en route from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to St. Petersburg in Russia [flight KGL 9268] when it crashed over the Sinai Peninsula early on October 31. The plane fell near El Hasna populated locality 100 km to the south of Al-Arish, the administrative center of the North Sinai Governorate [province]. All the 224 people onboard, including 217 passengers and the 7-member crew, died. The passengers, most of whom were Russians, also included four Ukrainians and one citizen of Belarus.
Three countries, including Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, have suspended flights to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in recent days. London explained its move by serious suspicions that the Russian plane crash could have been caused by a bomb detonated onboard.