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Transport Ministry: Resumption of Russia-Egypt air service is 'matter of near future'

The Russian transport minister says the ministry will prepare a conclusion on security of airports at Egyptian resorts after January 20

MOSCOW, January 13, /TASS/. Resumption of charter flights from Russia to Egyptian resorts is a matter of near future, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters.

"As for resumption of charter flights to the destinations which are popular among our tourists - to the Red Sea coast, Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada - that is a matter of the near future," he said.

Sokolov also said the Transport Ministry will prepare a conclusion on security of airports at Egyptian resorts after January 20. He added that the ministry will soon report to the government on the results of the recent inspection of the Cairo airport.

In December 2016, Sokolov said that the flights between Russia and Egypt would most probably be resumed in January 2017.

Russian experts conducted their last regular inspection of the Cairo airport in December 2016. Currently, the Ministry is preparing the report on the results of the inspection.

According to reports by Egyptian media, the final visit of Russian experts to the airport of Cairo and setting dates for resumption of flight connection are expected on January 18-20.

There are also groups of Russian experts inspecting the airports of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada now, he said.

Talks on the resumption of air communication with Egypt has been on since the end of 2015. The air traffic between the two countries was suspended in November 2015, after the terrorist attack on board an aircraft of Kogalymavia company, which was flying from Sharm El Sheikh to St Petersburg.

Air service with Tajikistan

The minister went on to say that Moscow does not plan to introduce any further bans on Tajik air companies flying to Russia or take other restrictive measures related to air service with Tajikistan.

"We don’t want the situation to deteriorate so we won’t take any steps. The only thing we insist on is that previously agreed upon obligations are fulfilled," Sokolov said when asked if air service between Russia and Tajikistan could become subject to further restrictions.

Flights between Russia and Tajikistan were suspended in December 2016 as the Tajik Somon Air airline was banned from carrying out flights to Russia’s regions (except Moscow and St. Petersburg).

According to Sokolov, Russia’s Transport Ministry is ready for dialogue, but Tajikistan should first fulfill conditions which it previously put down in writing. Earlier the Russian Transport Ministry said that in November 2016 the parties had come to an agreement as Tajikistan accepted two Russian airlines set to operate flights from Zhukovsky airport located in the Moscow region to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe and the northern city of Khudzhand.

"We are always open for dialogue. Our Tajik counterparts want to hold another round of talks - the previous one took place in late December, so we could begin dialogue right now. In late January a meeting of the inter-governmental commission is expected, with talks possibly being held back-to-back. But before doing that, agreements reached at previous negotiations should be fulfilled," the Russian minister stressed.

Earlier Tajikistan refused to agree to flights by Russia’s Yamal air company from Zhukovsky airport to Khudzhand, saying that this would breach the balance between the countries on the number of airlines. However, the parity applied only to the Moscow air hub, whereas according to the Russian legislation, Zhukovsky does not belong to this hub.