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MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Russia’s emergencies and defense ministries, as well as the Volga-Dnepr air company have been engaged to transport luggage of Russian vacationers from Egypt to Russia, Rosaviatsiya (the Federal Air Transport Agency) said on Sunday.
"Along with Russia’s emergencies ministry, luggage of Russian tourists will be transported by Il-76 planes of the 224th air group of the Russian defense ministry and Il-76 and An-124 planes of the Volga-Dnepr air company. Planes of the 224th air group of the defense ministry have already arrived at Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada airports and are now being loaded. Volga-Dnepr planes are arriving at the airports of the Egyptian resort cities," Rosaviatsiya said.
After a thorough check at Egyptian airports with the use of special equipment and dogs, the luggage is placed in the so-called "sterile zone," from where it is loaded onto Russian planes, the agency said.
Earlier on Sunday two Russian emergencies ministry’s planes carrying luggage of Russian tourists in Moscow from Egypt landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. By Sunday afternoon, some 60 tonnes of cargo, or over 2,700 bags and cases, were delivered from Egypt to Moscow.
The luggage will be stored in specially designated places from where it will be handed over to the owners or transported further to other Russian regions and cities.
On Friday, November 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with recommendations of the National Anti-terrorist Committee to suspend air service with Egypt until the causes of the A321 plane crash were identified. According to presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, flights to Egypt will be suspended until proper level of security is ensured. Putin also issued instructions to help Russians vacationing in Egypt return home. He noted however that the suspension of flights did not mean that a terrorist attack was considered as a key theory of the Russian plane crash in northern Sinai.
According to Russia’s Tourism Agency (Rostourism), about 80,000 Russians were staying in Egypt as of Friday.
An A321 passenger jet of 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.