Russian flights to Egypt's Red Sea to resume on October 1

Flights were halted in March in the wake of Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine

A general view for pools of a hotel in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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Russia’s national flag carrier Aeroflot said it would resume flights from Moscow to the Egyptian Red Sea resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh on October 1.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, flights from the country to both Red Sea cities were halted in March, a hiatus that hit Egypt's economy hard since the two warring countries account for about 30 per cent of its incoming tourists every year.

According to Aeroflot’s online booking system, there will be a daily flight to Sharm El Sheikh and another to Hurghada starting on October 1.

Although Cairo-bound flights from the Russian city of Sochi were allowed to resume in April, as per Russian state media, there was a marked drop in the number of incoming Russian and Ukrainian tourists this year compared to last, a July statement from Egypt’s Cabinet said.

In February, Russia’s ambassador to Egypt issued a statement that 125,000 tourists from his country had visited various Egyptian cities in the first two weeks of 2022, a number which had made Egypt’s tourism sector hopeful that it would find a much-needed respite from the tourism dry spell the country went through in 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russian flights to the Red Sea were resumed in July of last year following a six-year hiatus after being suspended in 2015 when a chartered Russian plane crashed over the Sinai peninsula shortly after taking off from Sharm El Sheikh’s airport. The crash killed all 224 people on board.

A number of tourism workers in Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh told The National last year that they were ecstatic to see the return of Russian tourists to the Red Sea after the dry spell that saw both cities essentially vacated and many of their establishments shuttered for years.

An ISIS-affiliated terror cell claimed responsibility for the attack.

Despite pausing its flights to the Red Sea for six years, Russia, however, resumed its flights to Cairo in 2018.

This year Egypt’s foreign reserves hit record lows, causing concern among the country’s government officials, many of whom have explicitly blamed the Russia-Ukraine war for the drop in tourism revenues and for other aspects of the economic crisis.

Updated: September 27, 2022, 2:52 PM