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Egypt To Buy Russian Jets In Deal That May Revive Tourism

An Egyptian airline plans to buy up to 10 Russian-made jets in a deal with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft that could also involve the creation of a tour agency to restore flights between the two countries.

All Russian flights to Egypt were suspended after a bomb brought down a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, killing 224 tourists onboard.

Privately owned Egyptian Leisure Airlines will purchase four SSJ-100 jets with an option for six more as part of a memorandum of understanding signed on February 2, Russian and Egyptian officials said.

An Egyptian source told Reuters that the deal included the possibility of establishing a joint venture along with a third company that would see Egyptian Leisure acquire a total of 45 Sukhoi SSJ-100s over three years to transport Russian tourists to Egypt -- restoring a vital source of revenue to Egypt's economy.

"I expect the resumption of Russian flights in the first half of the year," said Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax