Russia Restricts Georgian Airways Flights

Russia’s Ministry of Transport has imposed restrictions on Tbilisi-Moscow flights of the airline company Georgian Airways.

Russian media reports that the decision of the Russian Transport Ministry was followed by the restriction set by Georgia on the Russian owned Ural Airlines on performing flights from Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport to Tbilisi.

“Georgian aviation authorities must fulfill their obligations towards the Russian side and give Ural Airlines permission for these flights," Russian news agency Ria Novosti quoted the statement of the Russian ministry.

General Director of Georgian Airways, Givi Davitashvili, said that four out of 21 flights per week have been suspended by the Russian side. He stressed that the air company did not receive any preliminary notice about this decision.

“Sooner or later, adequate steps need to be made and the government should take proper measures solve this issue,” Davitashvili stated, adding that the issue of Zhukovsky Airport cannot be the main reason for limiting flights from Tbilisi.

“The disagreements arose because we agreed on a maximum of 21 flights per week from Moscow airport. We see Zhukovsky Airport as the same as Moscow Airport and not differing from it in any way. No talks were held between the airlines regarding this [second] airport,” Davitashvili explained, noting that Russia’s decision about Georgian Airways will bring serious financial consequences to his company as up to 2,000 sold or reserved tickets have been cancelled.

Deputy Director General of Georgian Airlines, Robert Ogannesyan, says the flights will be canceled until the end of October and he expects the damage to amount to “millions”.

Russian Transport Minister, Maxim Sokolov, expressed hope that the issue related to the restrictions on the Georgian Airways flights to Moscow will be resolved within the next week.

"The situation will be resolved in a positive way. I hope that in the near future all issues will be solved together with our Georgian colleagues and they will fulfill the obligations that are currently envisaged by the air communication agreement and we will therefore reciprocate," Sokolov told Tass news agency.

Regular and direct air flights between Russia and Georgia resumed in September 2014 following the 2008 August War.

Georgian Airways was established in 1993 under the name Airzena. In August 2014, the company changed its name to Georgian Airways.

The airline company has concluded Interline Agreements with 16 major airlines to make it possible to reach any destination worldwide. 

By Thea Morrison

17 July 2017 13:11