Russia-Georgia air service stopped

Russia-Georgia air service stopped

Russian President Vladimir Putin's law banning Russia's air passenger communication with Georgia signed on June 21 came into effect today. The Russian Transport Ministry’s decision as of June 22 on the suspension of Georgian airline companies’ flights to Russian territory also entered into force.

Aeroflot’s flight SU 1893, that departed from Tbilisi earlier on Monday, has landed at Sheremetyevo Airport, according to the airport’s online information. The plane landed at 4:51 Moscow time. It is the last flight of a Russian airline company from Tbilisi, which closes the flight program between Russia and Georgia.

Georgian airliners Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines ended flight to Russia yesterday. Six airline companies flew from Russia to Georgia: Aeroflot, S7, Ural Airlines, Pobeda, Red Wings and Nordavia.

The temporary ban for direct air communication between Russia and Georgia had a tangible effect over the republic’s Black Sea resorts, where 80% of hotel bookings were already cancelled by Russians, founder and head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation Shalva Alaverdashvili said.

"Sea resorts received the hardest blow: the share of cancelled bookings by Russian tourists reached 80%, the Adjara tourism administration reported. It should be noted that the situation is unfavorable in the rest of Georgia as well," TASS cited Alaverdashvili as saying. 

According to him, in total Russians canceled up to 60% of hotel bookings across the country. The head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation added that mostly premium-class Russian tourists did not abolish their trips to Georgia.

According to the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the probable loss for the country’s economy from reducing the tourism flow from Russia will stand at about $710 million.

Russia's transport ministry has preliminarily estimated air companies' losses from the suspension of air service with Georgia at 3 billion rubles.

On June 20, the opposition started anti-Russian demonstrations in Tbilisi, that were caused by State Duma member Sergei Gavrilov’s participation in a session of the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. To provide security for the Russian citizens, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning air passenger communication with Georgia starting from July 8. The Russian Transport Ministry’s decision as of June 22 on the suspension of Georgian airline companies’ flights to Russian territory was launched the same day.

Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the resumption of airline flights from Russia to Georgia is possible after the situation in the country returns to non-Russophobic state.

Russia-Georgia direct flights were cut over the South Ossetia conflict in the August 2008. Charter flights resumed in August 2010, but regular flights on the Moscow-Tbilisi-Moscow route resumed only on September 15, 2014.

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