Russian observers arrange at Egypt’s airports

CAIRO — A flight that took off from Russia, carrying on board 300 Russian vacationers, landed at Egypt’s Hurghada Airport on Aug. 9, for the primary time in nearly six years. 

The subsequent day, the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh acquired the primary EgyptAir flight from Moscow, additionally after a six-year hiatus.

On Nov. 6, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the suspension of all flights to Egypt after a Russian constitution flight ferrying greater than 200 passengers crashed within the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, 2015. In April of this 12 months, Moscow agreed to resume flights to Egyptian resorts. 

The choice to renew flights between Moscow and Cairo sparked controversy in Egypt, amid accusations that the federal government positioned the Egyptian airports below Russian management and allowed Russian specialists to be current there, in trade for flights to renew between the 2 nations. 

The accusations got here following a go to by a 15-member Russian safety delegation to the airports of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada on Aug. 8, to examine travel procedures. The airport authorities assigned one service counter and two halls for Russian vacationers arriving and departing from Egypt, in response to airport sources quoted by Egypt Independent.

On July 26, Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Mohammad Manar Enabah advised Egyptian TV host Ahmed Moussa by cellphone throughout his present “Ala Mas’uliyati” (“My Responsibility”) on Sada El-Balad TV channel that Russian observers shall be completely stationed at Hurghada Airport to make sure that the Russian travel procedures proceed to be enforced. 

Enabah stated that the observers’ position includes following up on airport and passenger safety procedures, akin to metallic detectors, a protected route from the airport to resorts, random screening of passengers, safety rooms, surveillance cameras for passengers and baggage storage services, in addition to assigning a boarding gate for Russian flights.

On June 2, a Russian safety delegation inspected the Egyptian airports. In a gathering with Egypt’s deputy minister of civil aviation, the delegation mentioned all safety measures utilized at arrival and departure, in addition to passengers and baggage screening procedures. They additionally mentioned the measures adopted by the ministry to stop the danger of publicity to the coronavirus.

Russian Transportation Minister Maksim Sokolov had stated on March 25, 2016, that his ministry intends to examine security measures in any respect Egyptian airports.

Soha Bahgat Mohamed Farag, adviser to the Egyptian minister of tourism and antiquities and official spokeswoman for the Ministry of Tourism, advised Al-Monitor that Egypt has opened its doorways to Russian specialists to examine the measures that Egypt has taken to make sure the safety and security of Russian vacationers, particularly in gentle of the coronavirus pandemic.

She stated that it’s regular for Russian specialists to be current on the airports to examine on the procedures Egypt has taken for the protection of Russian passengers.

On May 14, an Egyptian political supply advised Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Egypt agreed to the appointment of Russian safety officers at Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada airports to hurry up the resumption of flights to those cities, because the Russian vacationers include an essential supply of revenue for Egypt.

The supply stated that in talks with Moscow, Egyptian officers expressed reservations in regards to the latter’s request to nominate Russian officers at Egyptian airports, contemplating them a breach of sovereignty that would pose a menace to nationwide safety. According to the supply, Egypt finally agreed to the Russian request after the Russian workforce inspecting the Egyptian airports recognized a mistake made by the police at Sharm el-Sheikh airport following the 2015 Russian provider’s incident, which the Russian observers communicated with Putin.

The supply identified that the authorities on the Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh airports assigned particular stations inside these airports for the Russian observers who’re overseeing safety of the Russian flights to the 2 cities.

Farag stated that the Ministry of Tourism lifted all obstacles to the arrival of Russian vacationers to Egypt, and the Egyptian groups rehabilitated airports and resort services, particularly within the cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, in cooperation with the Russian groups.

On May 7, Hisham al-Damiri, former head of the Tourism Promotion Authority affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism, stated that Russian tourism is a important artery of the Egyptian tourism sector, as Russians include nearly 30% of the full variety of vacationers in Egypt.

On Aug. 9, Ahmed Khaled Mamdouh, deputy head of the Conference Party for the Central Administration and Follow-up, stated that Russian vacationers represented greater than 60% of the full variety of vacationers within the Red Sea earlier than 2015.

In an Aug. 12 interview with Russia Today, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani stated that Russia has been the prime supply of vacationers arriving in Egypt for years. In 2015-16, the variety of Russian vacationers exceeded Three million, he famous.

Anani continued that the Russian vacationers represented greater than 50% of the full variety of vacationers in Egypt, which reveals how essential the Russians are to the Egyptian tourism sector.

Farag famous that Russian vacationers to Egypt largely contribute to the nation’s gross home product, pointing on the main influence the suspension of Russian flights had on the Egyptian economic system.

On Jan. 28, 2016, South Sinai Gov. Maj. Gen. Khaled Fouda stated that the tourism sector incurred losses price about 6 billion Egyptian kilos ($382 million) following the 2015 Russian airplane crash.

Revenues from tourism throughout fiscal 12 months 2016 reached $3.Eight billion, in contrast with $7.four billion in 2014-15, a decline of 48.9%.

In an try and calm public opinion over the presence of Russian groups on the airports, Red Sea Gov. Maj. Gen. Amr Hanafi stated in a cellphone interview on Sada al-Balad TV channel on Aug. 9 that Egypt has full sovereignty over its airports, and there’s no interference from the Russian facet within the administration of airports. Their position is proscribed to offering remarks, he famous. 

Hanafi concluded that the Russian facet has the total proper to study the processs on the Egyptian airports and to watch safety measures, and that their presence is regular and it occurs in all nations.

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