Russians fly in to Egypt's Red Sea resorts after 6-year ban

Russian tourists fly in to Egypt's Red Sea resorts after 6-year ban
2 min read
A Russian tourist flight landed in Egypt on Monday for the first time since the 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner by the IS extremist group.
A Rossiya plane bound for Sharm el-Sheikh took off from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport [Getty]

A Russian tourist flight from Moscow landed in an Egyptian Red Sea resort on Monday for the first time since the October 2015 Islamic State (IS) bombing of a Russian airliner, a civil aviation official said.

Moscow barred direct flights to Egypt after the bombing of the passenger plane shortly after it took off from the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.

Monday's EgyptAir flight from the Russian capital brought 300 tourists to Hurghada, and a second flight is due on Tuesday to bring Russia holidaymakers to Sharm el-Sheikh.

EgyptAir CEO Amr Abulenein told AFP the national carrier would be operating a total of seven flights a week between Moscow and Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.

A Russian delegation inspected both airports and resort hotels at the end of last month to check on security and health procedures, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

The attack six years ago claimed by the extremist IS group dealt a blow to Egypt's key tourist industry, and the sector has been further battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Egypt reopened to foreign tourists in July last year after having closed its borders in March to stem the flow of coronavirus infections.

In 2019, the last full year before the pandemic struck, tourism made up about 12 percent of Egypt's GDP.

After a long period of political instability that dented earnings, revenues from the sector recovered to $13 billion that year.

But in 2020, a year when Egypt had initially eyed a further rebound to $16 billion, takings collapsed to $4 billion.