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Russian aviation watchdog’s chief says too early to resume flights to Egypt

October 31 marked the second anniversary since the tragic crash of a Russian jet over Sinai

YAKUTSK, November 2. /TASS/. Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia believes it is early to resume flights of Russian airlines to Egypt despite the country’s efforts to raise aviation security.

"Our Egyptian colleagues are making great efforts on enhancing aviation security at Egypt’s airports. We are monitoring this situation, but it is premature to speak about opening the flights at the moment," the head of Rosaviatsia, Alexander Neradko, told reporters.

"The work is underway to prepare for opening these flights," he said, noting that October 31 marked the second anniversary since the tragic crash of a Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula.

A flight by the Russian airline, Kogalymavia, en route from Sharm el-Sheikh to the Russian city of St. Petersburg, crashed on October 31, 2015, about a half an hour after take-off. The plane’s wreckage was found some 100 kilometers south from the town of El Arish, the capital of the Egyptian governorate of North Sinai, near the El Hasna settlement. All 217 passengers and seven crew members on board died in the crash. There were residents of 13 Russian regions among the victims, including 147 residents of St. Petersburg.

Shortly after, Russia suspended all flights with Egypt. Investigation revealed the crash had been a terrorist attack carried out by using a homemade explosive device containing one kilogram of TNT. Negotiations on resuming flights between Russia and Egypt have been underway since late 2015. Moscow demands Cairo modernize onboard and airport security systems.