Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi shake hands during a signing ceremony following their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi - Reuters
CAIRO – 24 October 2018: The Russian Ambassador to Cairo, Sergei Kirpichenko, praised President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's recent visit to Moscow, saying it had been very special, even though it was the ninth meeting between Sisi and his Russian counterpart.
Kirpichenko commented on the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation agreement signed by the two presidents during their meeting, saying that the two states are showing the world that they are determined to continue cooperating in all fields, in accordance with their national interests and international obligations.
Concerning global efforts to combat terrorism, the ambassador affirmed his country's firm determination to eliminate terrorism in the Middle East and beyond. He also praised Egypt's efforts in combating terrorism, stressing his country's readiness to further cooperate with Cairo in such efforts.
Speaking before the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the Federation Council, during his recent visit, Sisi asserted that terrorism poses a threat to the concept of state, highlighting the Egyptians' success over the past five years to restore security and stability, preventing chaos and preserving their state institutions.
On October 15, President Sisi visited Russia for a three-day official visit, during which he met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
Resumption of Russian flights to Egypt
Sisi told press he reviewed with Putin the resumption of direct flights from Russia to Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and others.
Putin agreed during the meeting to resume flights between the two countries, referring that Egypt exerts extensive efforts to secure air flights. Russian flag carrier Aeroflot already resumed flights to Cairo in April.
Egyptian Ambassador to Russia Ihab Nasr expects charter flights between the two countries to restart in full before 2019, TASS Russian News Agency reported.
The two presidents announced during their meeting their agreement to restart flights between the two countries in full, "within the next few weeks or months," Nasr added.
In mid-December 2017, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement on aviation security and a special protocol on restoring air service between the two countries. Putin signed the decree on resumption of scheduled flights to Cairo on January 4, 2018.
Russian tourism crisis
In October 2015, the Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, crashed over the Sinai Peninsula, while carrying Russian tourists returning from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 on board.
Although Egypt-Russia investigations have not revealed the reason behind the crash, Russia, along with some other countries, had decided to suspend direct flights to Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh for an indefinite period. The decision decimated Egypt's vital tourism industry.
Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt. According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, this number plummeted to 2.38 million in 2015.
The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, and has suffered badly from the travel ban that turned the once 100 percent occupied resorts to empty buildings.
Tourist inflow to Egypt peaked in 2010, when 14.7 million tourists visited the country, but the number fell to 4.5 million in 2016.