Thousands of Russians in Egypt decided to defy security warnings and continue their vacations following the October 31 plane crash that killed 224 people traveling to Moscow.
“Nearly [Russian] 80,000 tourists are in Egypt. There will be no evacuation,” explained a spokeswoman for the Russian Union of the Tourism Industry.
Russia stopped all flights to Egypt after the crash. German airliner Lufthansa has also suspended flights to the Sinai Peninsula. Dutch airline KLM and the United Kingdom are permitting flights, but passengers may only bring carry-on luggage. Evidence continues to pile up pointing to a bomb from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) potentially detonating mid-flight.
“Tourists will be returning from Egypt to Russia when they planned to. Most people left for two weeks — our usual holiday tour lasts two weeks — therefore they will return in about two weeks,” stated Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
Despite the security concerns, all tourists, not just Russians, want to finish their vacations.
— Daily News Egypt (@DailyNewsEgypt) November 7, 2015
— The Cairo Post (@TheCairoPost) November 9, 2015
— Dawn Wilkinson (@deltadawnski) November 9, 2015
— Dolce© (@Dolcikka) November 8, 2015
— Rob Carron (@Robreferee) November 7, 2015
— Sherine Tadros (@SherineT) November 8, 2015
— Laura Bagnall (@penstemon22) November 7, 2015
— Rob Carron (@Robreferee) November 6, 2015
— ColorMeRed 🇺🇸 (@ColorMeRed) November 5, 2015
Even some Russians returning home have found ways to express support for their government, wearing T-shirts with the face of President Vladimir Putin on them in support.
Putin suspending flights to Egypt, but sending T-shirts. pic.twitter.com/V7wqglpw9Q
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) November 6, 2015
Dvorkovich said it would take two weeks to bring back the tourists. At least 25,000 people returned home over the weekend.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev did not tell the media when Russia would lift the ban on flights to Egypt. However, he does not believe the flights will “resume any time soon.”
The Emergency Situations Ministry is responsible for carrying home over 130 tons of luggage on cargo planes.
“A planned process to evacuate tourists will be executed,” said Oleg Safonov, head of Russian state tourism agency Rostourism. “Planes will arrive empty and be boarded by those tourists who should return home on that date.”