After three decades of detours, travellers in Egypt and Iran are now once again to take direct flights between the two countries. The resumption of direct flights is seen as further proof of warmer diplomatic ties.
The first direct flight between Egypt and Iran left Saturday from Cairo and was bound for Tehran. On board the privately-chartered Air Memphis flight, according to Cairo airport officials, were eight Iranians.
Egypt and Iran ended diplomatic relations following Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. However, since the election of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, relations between the two nations have improved.
An agreement on the non-stop passenger flights between Sunni-majority Egypt and Shiite Iran was signed by Egypt’s Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou on a trip to Iran last month. The movements of Iranian visitors are still subject to certain restrictions in Egypt.
In February, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid a visit to Egypt – the first Iranian leader to do so in over 30 years. Egypt’s fallen dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was a staunch opponent of Tehran.
mz/hc (AP, AFP, dpa)