Russian ban on flights to Egypt will last months

2015-11-10 19:58
Wreckage from the doomed plane. (AP)

Wreckage from the doomed plane. (AP)

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Moscow - Russia's ban on commercial flights to Egypt might last at least "several months," the Kremlin's chief of staff said on Tuesday.

"This is long-term. I can't say exactly how long, but I think it will be several months at minimum," Sergei Ivanov told reporters, state news agency TASS reported.

He said that it would be impossible for Egyptian authorities to improve security to a sufficient level within a month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin banned commercial flights to Egypt amid fears that a terrorist bomb blew up a Russian airliner on October 31, killing all 224 people on board.

The disaster was the deadliest in Russia's history of commercial aviation. Almost all of the victims were Russian.

More than 25 000 Russian tourists have left the country since the flight ban was implemented.

The tourists have been allowed to take commercial flights home with only carry-on bags, according to Russian officials.

Their bigger luggage is being transported by cargo jets operated by Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry.

Russian search and rescue experts have left Cairo after completing their mission seeking remains of the victims at the crash site in the Sinai Peninsula.

Cairo airport officials, who declined to be quoted by name, said that all bodies and body parts recovered at the site have been transported to Russia.

A long-term suspension of flights from Russia could devastate Egypt's economy. Egypt is the most popular tourism destination among Russians, Russia's Vedomosti newspaper reported.

During Egypt's Arab Spring protests in 2011, Egypt lost about $200m in tourist revenue as Russia recommended for a couple of months that its citizens not travel there, Vedomosti said.

Read more on:    russia  |  egypt  |  north africa

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