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Book your ticket now: Tbilisi–Moscow flights restart

By Ana Datiashvili
Thursday, March 20
The first Tbilisi–Moscow flight in nearly a year and a half will take off by the end of March, after the Russian government confirmed that air links with Georgia will be formally restored next week.

“We believe that after these flights are resumed, this will positively impact Georgian-Russian relation,” said a statement posted on the Russian Transport Ministry’s website on March 18. “This will be important step for the restoration of traditional relations between the two countries, which is the wish of the Georgian and Russian people.”

Russian airlines Aeroflot and S7, together with Georgia’s Airzena and Georgian National Airlines, will be the first to offer the flights.

S7 spokeswoman Tamuna Belasaniani said a plane will take off from Moscow on the afternoon of March 30, with the first Tbilisi–Moscow flight departing that same evening. Ticket prices will be GEL 400–420, she said.

The company will have flights to Russian leaving from Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi.

An Aeroflot representative said yesterday that the date of their first flight is not set yet, but suggested flights three times a week could start from the end of March.

Georgian National Airlines spokeswoman Jilda Machavariani says her airline will begin flights to Russia on April 20.

“Georgian National Airlines will restart its flights a little bit late but with big surprises,” she said yesterday. “Our company will [have] new airplanes, the CRJ 200 and the Fokker 100.”

Irakli Taktakishvili, head of the Georgian Transport Administration, says air links will be managed on a parity basis. Ten flights will be given to Russian airlines, and ten to Georgian companies, he said on March 18.

Georgians welcomed the chance to see friends or family in Russia without taking an expensive detour through a transit country.

Tbilisi resident Eto Zivzivadze’s husband works in Moscow.

“It’s been a problem for both of us to see each other frequently,” she said.

Valeri Managadze, who studied in Moscow for several years, says he hasn’t been able to visit his friends there since direct flights were cut off.

“When you need [transit through] another country, this is very difiicult and expensive,” he said. “I’m very excited. As soon as I have a day off, I’ll buy a ticket to Moscow.”

Postal service will be partly restored as well, according to airline representatives, who say their planes will carry post along with passengers.

“I welcome this news,” said MP Kote Gabashvili, head of the parliamentary foreign relations committee. “I’m sure many people will visit Russia after this, and now we have [other problems] to address.”

Moscow suspended direct air links between Georgia and Russia as part of a blanket trade embargo imposed in October 2006, after Tbilisi publicly expelled a group of Russians accused of spying.