Egypt has agreed with Russia on a roadmap for the return of Russian flights and tourist services to Egypt, after several delegations carried out inspections on resorts, hotels and the Red Sea resort airports earlier this month, Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said on Monday.
In a press conference at the ministry headquarters, held as Egypt prepares to receive what it hopes will be a final delegation on August 29 before Russia agrees to resume flights to Egypt, Fathy said that Russian officials have showed positive signs of cooperation.
The Aviation Ministry is ready to accept any security and airport safety conditions in order to serve the air transport industry in Egypt and the region, provided that these conditions will not affect Egyptian sovereignty, said the minister.
International and regional delegations inspecting security procedures at airports do not affect Egyptian sovereignty, he said. Egypt also sends delegations to inspect security measures at airports in foreign countries, the minister continued.
"We are expecting a Russian delegation on August 29 to inspect security procedures at Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Hurghada airports. A large delegation from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will also visit before the end of 2016 to conduct their annual inspection," Fathy said.
He denied that Moscow had stipulated the allocation of arrival and departure halls exclusively for Russian tourists at Egyptian airports as a condition for resuming flights.
Egypt is ready to allocate airport halls especially for Russian tourists, although given the number of Russian visitors who pass through Egypt's airports, special halls would have to be constructed for the purpose, according to Fathy.
He also dismissed as a rumor circulated by the media that Egypt had received drafts of a security cooperation agreement from Russia.
The tourism sector in Egypt, fueled largely by Russian visitors, took a bad hit after the crash of a Russian MetroJet flight near Sharm El-Sheikh last October, which killed all 224 people on board. Russia, followed by several countries, decided to suspend flights to the Red Sea airports after the incident, adding to the vast numbers of holidaymakers who had already chosen to stay away from Egypt since a popular revolution in 2011.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm