Egypt, Russia resume flights halted after 2015 attack


Cairo, April 12: Egypt and Russia resumed direct flights today, more than two years after they were suspended in the wake of a bombing that brought down a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula.
EgyptAir said a Moscow-bound flight took off from Cairo today, and that it will operate three such flights a week. An Aeroflot flight from Moscow carrying 124 passengers arrived in Cairo early Thursday.
“Even though air service between Russia and Egypt has been interrupted for such a long time, the load factor on upcoming flights is more than 85 percent,” Aeroflot said in a statement, adding that both airlines would offer daily flights from June 12 to July 2 to cope with heavy demand.
Moscow suspended flights after the 2015 attack, which killed all 224 people on board and was claimed by the extremist Islamic State group. Russian officials said a homemade explosive device was detonated on board the plane, which had taken off from the main Sinai resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Direct flights between Russia and Egypt’s popular Red Sea resorts have yet to resume. Britain, another major source of visitors to Egypt, suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after the attack.
The suspension of flights dealt a heavy blow to Egypt’s vital tourism sector, which was already weakened by the years of unrest that followed the 2011 uprising.
Egypt has sought to improve airport security since the 2015 attack, spending millions of dollars and bringing in foreign experts. (AP)