Turkish Airlines will take Russian tourists to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada via Istanbul Airport.
Throughout 2018, a series of conflicting reports on the return of direct Russian flights to Egypt made the rounds, with the Russian government holding off from relaunching Egypt-bound travel routes. However, Russian tourists will now have an option to board one of two daily Turkish Airlines flights from Moscow to Egypt via Istanbul International Airport, as reported by Shorouk News.
Aly Oqda, president of GTI for Tourism, said that establishing such routes is a strong indication of rebounding demand on Egypt's resorts on account of Russian tourists, and would mean that once the flight ban is lifted, Egypt will see a strong comeback of Russian tourism - one of the main tourism markets for the country.
Oqda also predicts that Russia will lift the ban next April, pointing out that Sharm El Sheikh and Taba-bound flights were give then green-light to take off from Moscow in December, albeit via Israel's Eilat Airport.
It is noted that prior the October 2015 terrorist downing of a Russian commercial jet over Sinai, the numbers of Russian tourists entering the country had amounted to 800K in the first ten months of that year, with 2014 seeing a total of one million Russian tourists entering the country.
Russia has since demanded heightened security measures in Egyptian airports, and sent specialised teams to help their Egyptian counterparts implement complex security check-ups. The last Russian security team landed in Egypt on December 9th to investigate the on-ground progress in terms of security at Egyptian airports. Oqda believes that establishing other travel routes for Russian tourists into Egypt will apply pressure on the Russian government to lift the travel ban as to not lose potential customers to its local airlines.
Main image: Hot World Report)