Russia to renew flights to Egypt, halted after 2015…

Russian transport minister Maksim Sokolov and Egyptian civil aviation minister Sherif Fathy signed an agreement on aviation security that "is the first step for the resumption of flights between our countries", the Moscow ministry said.

The air traffic will resume on February 1, 2018, according to the report.

Russia suspended all flights to Egypt after a Russian plane carrying 217 passengers and seven crew crashed in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all on board, in October 2015.

The extremist militia Islamic State claimed responsibility for downing the plane.

"About 2.8 million Russian tourists used to visit Egypt before the crisis and we hope to restore this number of visitors and even double it in the near future", Battouty told Xinhua.

According to RT, the direct flights will head to Cairo International Airport at first and then gradually to the airports of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.

More Russian tourists will return to Egypt after Moscow signed a protocol on December 15 lifting the ban on direct flights to Egypt.

To be built by Russia's state-owned nuclear energy corporation Roseatom by 2022, the four-reactor nuclear power station will cost 29 billion USA dollars, 25 billon of which will be loaned by Russian Federation to Egypt to be paid in a 22-year period starting from 2029 at an annual interest rate of 3 percent, while Egypt has to provide the other 4 billion.

Russian Federation and Egypt were expected on Friday to sign an air safety agreement that would pave the way for the resumption of flights. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to reporters.

In the wake of the IS bombing, Britain, another major source of visitors to Egypt, suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort in Sinai from which the doomed Russian airliner took off.

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