Georgia Airways Welcomes Possible Lifting of Russian Flight Ban

Georgia’s privately-owned air carrier Georgian Airways welcomes the statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov regarding the possible lifting of a ban on direct flights between the two countries, TASS reported.

The company’s CEO Roman Bokeriya said in a statement released on Saturday that Georgian Airways supports the resumption of flights with consideration of Georgia’s interests.

“The management of Georgian Airways welcomes the statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov related to restoration of flights between Georgia and Russia. We believe flights between the two countries should be restarted according to the intergovernmental agreement, with consideration of all its articles, so that the Russian Government does not suspend regular service between the two countries unilaterally and without grounds anymore,” the statement reads.

Resuming direct flights between Moscow and Georgia would be a right thing to do, because the majority of Georgian citizens have realized the counter-productiveness of previous anti-Russian provocations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Kommersant last week.

On June 20, several thousand protesters amassed near the national parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm it. The protests were sparked by an uproar over the Russian delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On June 20, IAO President Sergei Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue. Shortly after the turmoil in Tbilisi, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili branded Russia an enemy and an occupier, but later said that nothing threatened Russian tourists in the country.

To ensure Russian citizens’ safety, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, which imposed a temporary ban on passenger flights to Georgia from July 8. On June 22, Russia’s Transport Ministry announced that starting on July 8, flights by Georgian airlines to Russia are halted.