Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA) has banned the Egyptian flag carrier EgyptAir from operating flights to Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, the airline’s only Russian destination, starting on November, TASS news agency reported on November 13, citing the airport management.
EgyptAir operates three weekly flights to Domodedovo with an Aribus A321. FATA declined to comment on the ban.
The measure was introduced shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to ban Russian carriers from flying to Egyptian destinations in the aftermath of the Metrojet Airbus A321 crash on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on October 31. International media have been mentioning a terrorist attack among the possible causes of the crash. The UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands have also banned their air carriers from operating flights into Egypt.
In a later report, TASS quoted Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying that EgyptAir’s flights to Russia had been suspended pending an inquiry into the carrier’s security procedures. In particular, the minister noted, the Russian authorities have requested EgyptAir to submit its program of security measures.
According to Sokolov, the ban will last until the cause of the Metrojet flight has been established. Russian business daily Vedomosti, for its part, reports that EgyptAir will be able to resume flights to Domodedovo after it develops and begins implementing a security program.
EgyptAir, which remained the only carrier operating non-stop flights between Russia and Egypt until November 14, has offered its passengers to rebook tickets for later dates.
Russian carriers may lose up to a total of 9 billion rubles (about $136 million) in 2015 alone from the ban on flights to Egypt, the Association of Air Transport Operators reports. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said earlier that the ban might last for several weeks.
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