Cairo – Russian Transport Ministry announced on Tuesday that Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi declared the investigations into the crash of Russia’s A321 plane had entered its final stage.
In October 2015, A321 passenger plane crashed over Sinai Peninsula 23 minutes after its take-off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport. The plane was heading to St. Petersburg from Sharm El-Sheikh and all 224 people on the plane were killed.
Since the crash, Russia and some western countries suspended their direct flights to Egypt.
On Sunday, the Egyptian minister travelled to Moscow to discuss tourism and resumption of direct flights between Egypt and Russia.
The Russian ministry announced that Fathi held a meeting on Monday with Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.
The ministry issued a statement saying that currently both countries are working on an agreement between them regarding aviation safety.
“Information provided by Fathi on the final stage of investigation in Egypt into the causes of the aviation accident with the Russian plane over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015 became an important moment of the meeting,” added the statement.
Investigation committee led by Egypt was formed of 58 members. Representatives from Russia; the operating country, Ireland; the registration country, France; the designing country, and Germany; the manufacturing country, as well as consultants from the manufacturing company joined the investigation as a respond to the Egyptian government’s request.
Russia’s FSB security service said investigators had concluded from traces of explosives in the wreckage that the plane crash was “unequivocally a terrorist act”.
Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek referred the investigations into the crash to the Supreme State Security Prosecution after an official Russian investigation reported that criminal activity was behind the crash.
Few days earlier, Speaker of Egypt’s parliament Ali Abdul Aal visited Russia and held several meetings with Russian Speaker Sergey Naryshkin and other Russian officials.
“Egypt’s general prosecutor will visit Moscow at the end of July and will present results of the investigation to the Russian side. I think the case of the crash of the plane will be closed soon, and the flights between Russia and Egypt will be resumed,” Abdul Aal said.
He pointed out that Egypt has fulfilled 85 percent of Russia’s demands regarding aviation safety.
Egypt is looking after resuming relations with Russia and retrieving Russian tourism which used to hold up to 30% of the overall arrivals to Egypt.
Former Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou estimated the losses in tourism to have reached 2.2 billion Egyptian pounds per month due to the crash.
After the crash, Egypt hired global consultancy Control Risks to review security measures at its airports.
Meanwhile, Egyptian parliament approved the extension of the emergency state three more months in Sinai as of July 29.
Prime Minister Sharif Ismail sent a statement to Speaker Abdul Aal saying that the decision to renew the emergency state in North Sinai comes as a counterterrorism measure.