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Beach in Hurghada
The Red Sea resort of Hurghada is one of the most popular foreign destinations for RussiansImage: pictur- alliance/dpa/M. Lauck
TerrorismEgypt

Russia restarts flights to Egyptian resorts

August 9, 2021

Moscow had previously banned flights to the resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh after a plane carrying Russian vacationers blew up over the Sinai Peninsula in 2015.

https://p.dw.com/p/3ylkg

Russia resumed flights to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday after a six year-ban due to a deadly plane crash.

An Egyptair plane transporting 300 Russian tourists took off from Moscow to Hurghada, and was welcomed by a "water salute" upon arrival at the tourist destination. Passengers were given balloons and flowers after landing.

Moscow has given the green light to flights from 43 Russian cities to the two resorts. However, the list does not include St. Petersburg.

Russia had previously banned flights to those Egyptian destinations after a Metrojet plane, en route to St. Petersburg, exploded over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015. The aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh. All 224 passengers and crew perished. The vast majority of the passengers were from Russia, in addition to a few Belarusian and Ukrainian nationals.

Russia, Egypt divided over 2015 attack

The incident caused a significant diplomatic rift between Russia and Egypt.

Russian investigators contended that a bomb was on board the aircraft, and alleged the Egyptians did not have sufficient security measures at their airports.

An Egyptian-affiliate of the Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Egyptian authorities have often played down the theory that the attack was caused by terrorism. In recent years, Egypt has upgraded security at their airports and allowed Russian experts to inspect the improvements.

Red Sea delight

The Egyptian Red Sea resorts are the most popular foreign tourist destinations for Russians, due to the warm weather and inexpensive vacation packages.

Tourism is a key source of hard currency for Egypt and Russian visitors make a valuable contribution to the country's economy.

Indeed, tourism accounts for up to 15% of gross domestic product in Egypt, but the sector has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

wd/jsi (AP, Reuters)

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