Rosaviatsiya, the state aviation agency of Russia decided to ban Egypt Air from flying across the country starting November 14. A spokesman for the Domodedovo airport in Moscow, where the Egypt Air flights arrive, confirmed that they received the notice from Rosaviatsi regarding the ban.
The decision of Rosaviatsiya came after the crash of a Russian aircraft in Sinai Peninsula, which killed 224 people onboard. The Metrojet Flight 9268 was flying from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg when it crashed on October 31.
The plane crash was the worst air disaster in the history of the civil aviation of Russia and the Soviet. It is one of the 30 most deadly air disasters of all time. Rosaviatsiya imposed the ban to make sure theat Egypt Air, which had been the only airline flying between the countries, meets safety requirements.
President Vladimir Putin recently suspended all Russian flights to Egypt while an investigation into the cause of the plane crash is ongoing. The suspension was recommended by Alexander Bortnikov, chief of the Federal Security Services (FSB).
Russia suspends air flights to Egypt as preventive measure
Kremlin’s chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said the air flights between Russia and Egypt will be suspended for several months. According to him, “To be honest, we stopped flights to Egypt, not knowing the final version (of the crash), but we did this as a preventive measure, as a precaution.”
Ivanov emphasized that Egypt needs to improve its security systems not just in Sharm el-Sheik, but also in the beach resorts of Hurghada and Cairo, where Russia’s aircraft fly.
Aeroflot, the national flag carrier of Russia will not fly to Egypt until March 27, 2016.
Several countries including the United Kingdom suspended flights to and from the Sharm el-Sheik resort due to security concerns. Thousands of holidaymakers were stranded in the area.
Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for Russian airplane crash
Sinai Province, an affiliate of the Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the crash of the Russian airplane.
The terrorist group circulated an audio recording in social media and claimed, “We brought it down by God’s help, but we are under no obligation to reveal the mechanism we used. Search the wreckage of the plane, find your black box and analyze it.”
Intelligence reports from Britain and the United States indicated that a bomb brought down the aircraft. Julian Bray, an aviation security analyst, told BBC last week that it was “highly probable” for even an inexperienced terrorist group to put a bomb on the plane leaving Sharm el-Sheik resort.
According to Bray, it was likely that the bomb was taken somewhere like the cargo shed and then into a container in the plane. He said, “All passenger aircraft nowadays carry cargo as well, which often comes as a completely sealed unit, and the concern is that at airports like Sharm security, is lax around cargo.”
Egypt killed leader of Islamic State in Sinai
The leader of the Islamic State in Sinai Ashraf Ali-Gharably, who claimed to be responsible for the crash of the Russian aircraft, was killed by Egyptian police in a shootout in Cairo.
In a statement, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said, ISIS warlord noticed the presence of the police. He “shot at them in an attempt to fleet requiring the police forces to exchange fire with him leading to his death.”
Gharably was one of the most wanted men in Egypt. He was suspected as the man responsible for the bombing of an Italian consulate last summer, and the murder of a high-ranking government official in 2013.
Egypt did not invite the US to help investigate the Russian plane crash
Meanwhile, Egypt did not invite the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the National Transporation Safety Board (NTSB) to help in the investigation of the Russian airplane crash.
Both U.S. agencies offered forensic assistance and other investigative help to the crash investigators of Egypt and Russia. However, their offer hasn’t been formally accepted by both countries.
According to a spokesman for the NTSB, the agency had been answering technical questions from Egyptian crash investigators on an informal basis over the past several days. Their questions were related to the plane’s engine, which was manufactured by an American company Pratt & Whitney.