Russia has restored permission for Russian airlines to fly to Egypt. The decision, which became effective Jan. 2, ended a ban that was imposed following the destruction of a Russian airliner by a terrorist bomb in October 2015.

The aircraft, a Metrojet Airbus A321, crashed shortly after taking off from Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh. All 224 on board were killed. A local affiliate organization of the jihadist group Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the incident.

The incident sparked a major security scare, with the European Union following Russia’s example and banning flights to Sharm El Sheikh airports, fearing lax security had led to the bomb being placed on board.

The formal decision to restart flights had been expected for some time.

The decision by the Russian government, authorized by resident Vladimir Putin last week, gave no indication of precisely when the flights would restart.

However, Egyptian airport sources quoted by Reuters said flights would resume first between Cairo and Moscow in February, and negotiations about restoring flights to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, would follow in April.

Russian tourists were major contributors to the Egyptian tourism economy and their presence has been badly missed by local residents.

The only country now still imposing a bar on flights to Sharm El Sheikh is the UK, despite a major upgrade of security at Egyptian airports. As recently as December 2017, a UK transport minister, John Hayes, told the British parliament’s lower house that “there is a wider range of security-related reasons, which the House would not expect me to go into in detail here, why we do not yet feel that we should resume flights.”

Alan Dron