Summer is canceled: open Egypt to the Russians after the hijacking of the liner

Wednesday, March 29, one of the passengers captured in the skies over Egypt A320 aircraft operated by EgyptAir flying from Alexandria to Cairo. On Board were 64 people — 56 passengers, seven crew members and one security officer. On demand of the hijacker pilots landed the airliner at the airport of Larnaca Cyprus. After landing, nearly all passengers were released, except members of the crew and four passengers, citizens of European countries. After about seven hours, the hijacker freed the remaining hostages and surrendered.

While aboard the hijacked plane were not Russians, the incident could have consequences for Russian businesses and tourists. Because of him, the authorities will revise the plans on the resumption of air links between Russia and Egypt. The decision is expected to be adopted in the near future.

Almost resolved the issue

Russian airlines have suspended indefinitely flights to Egypt after the decree of President Vladimir Putin on November 9, 2015. The same document Putin recommended that the agents and tour operators to temporarily refrain from sale of rounds to Egypt. The reason was the crash of 31 October in the Sinai Peninsula liner “Kogalymavia” flying from Sharm El Sheikh to Petersburg with 224 people on Board. According to the FSB, on the plane during the flight, a bomb exploded capacity up to 1 kg in a trotyl equivalent. “Until we do not define the real causes of the incident, I consider it expedient to suspend the flights of Russian aviation in Egypt. This is especially the travel channels,” said the head of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov at a meeting of the security Council on 16 November.

After the terrorist attack on Board “Kogalymavia” formed a working group of representatives of law enforcement agencies and the Federal air transport Agency, which repeatedly verified the safety of the Egyptian airports, said a senior Federal official. A week ago he was saying that the prohibition for Russian airlines and travel agencies can be cleared during April-may, after the Egyptian government will fulfill all the requirements of the Russian side regarding security.

That traffic originating from Egypt may be renewed by the summer, also told that three members of the state Duma delegation that visited Cairo in January. To fly to Egypt tomorrow — security “shook up” thoroughly, shared the results of the trip one of them. Intelligence services analyze not only the safety of tourists in airports, but in the resort areas of Egypt, told two interlocutors .

The final decision on the resumption of air links with Egypt must accept Vladimir Putin.

An unexpected obstacle

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov after the incident with the EgyptAir plane said that talking about the postponement of the resumption of flights prematurely. “Before being completely found out all circumstances of an event, it is wrong to draw any conclusions about the topic of resumption of air service [with Egypt],” he said (quoted by “Interfax”).

We need to understand what happened to the EgyptAir liner, agreed with Peskov, a senior official of the Ministry of transport. Terms of renewal continues to depend only on the Egyptian side, and the issue may still be resolved in the near future, although now there may be delays, he said .

A source in the government adds that the theme of resumption of flights between Russiaand Egypt two components — the flight into Egypt Russian airlines and flights to Russia EgyptAir. “The themes are discussed separately, the timing of the resumption of flights can be different,” he said. A source in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport earlier said that EgyptAir have applied for service at the airport.

The representative of Federal air transport Agency declined to comment on how the hijacking of a plane in Egypt will affect the resumption of communication between the two countries: “It’s not up to us”. He recalled that at the Board the Federal air transport Agency transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said that another security check at the airports of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh will be held in April.

Evaluation of safety in Egypt is the prerogative of the FSB, said a source close to this Agency. The service prepared a report for Putin on this occasion, the source said . He admits that in connection with latest developments the FSB can delay the report to the President.

The press service of the Federal security service are unable to respond promptly to the request .

Unfortunately, adequate security at the airports in Egypt is not yet provided, according to the Chairman of the state Duma Committee for security and combating corruption Irina Yarovaya. This is also the opinion of the Vice-speaker of the state Duma Sergei Zheleznyak. “Air links with Egypt makes sense to rebuild when you have taken all the required security measures and our citizens will not be subject to mortal danger,” he passed through the press service.

Without tourism Egypt

Egypt was one of the most popular mass tourism destinations — in the first nine months of 2015 the country was visited by 1,6 million Russians. More than 2.4 million people during this time went only to Turkey. In November, when Egyptian direction was closed, the head of the Federal tourism Agency Oleg Safonov was assessed only direct damages from the termination of air links with Egypt 1.7 billion rubles.

One of the largest Russian tour operators on this direction was TEZ Tour. On Egypt and Turkey in the turnover of the company accounted for more than half, said co-owner tour Alexander Burtin. The amount of damages it is not revealed, but said that about 20% of tourist arrivals after the closure of these areas was not able to redirect to other countries.

Russian tourists, who used to travel in Egypt, even tried to buy the tours to the country in Belarus, says the Executive Director of the Association of tour operators of Russia Maya Lomidze. But the Belarusian authorities, according to her, quickly banned the sale of tours in this country to the Russians.

The lifting of restrictions on travel to Egypt is being discussed since late last year, said the representative of the Russian Union of travel industry Irina Tyurina. “After each of the posts on this thread people start to call the travel Agency, the interest is really great, she says. — Many are waiting when they open the Egypt.”

According Tyurin, tour operators are ready to quickly recover flight program to Egypt — it will take more than a month. Maya Lomidze sure if flights to Egypt will be allowed, the number of tourists will be restored to its former performance.

The interest in Egypt from tourists have always, agrees the General Director of tour operator “Pegas Touristik” Anna Podgornaya. But there is no official information about the resumption of relations, to judge the real demand is difficult, she notes.

Excessive demand on the Egyptian direction is not, says the President “Natali Turs” Vladimir Vorobev. “High season in Egypt just ends: in the summer it is very hot, so wanting to go now not so much,” he explains. “Natalie tours” this summer does not rely on Egypt: “We negotiated with the airlines, but assumed that if the direction will restore, we will carry there according to the residual principle”, — said Vorobyov.

“The story of the hijacking for the travel industry changed nothing, says Turina. Like waiting for the opening of Egypt, and waiting”. But now the government can defer a decision on the matter, she fears.

With the participation of Catherine Burlakova