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First international flight since Crimea became part of Russia leaves for Istanbul

July 20, 2014, 1:46 updated at: July 20, 2014, 2:54 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
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SIMFEROPOL, July 20. /ITAR-TASS/. The first international flight has left Simferopol airport for Istanbul, Turkey, for the first time since Crimea re-united with Russia in March 2014. A Yak 42 turbojet of the Grozny Avia air company took off from Simferopol airport on Saturday, July 19, with 99 passengers onboard - the citizens of Russia and Turkey.

Anatoly Tsurkin, Crimea’s deputy transport minister, told Itar-Tass that the departure had initially been planned for 8:00 in the morning. However, the flight was delayed for several hours because it took more time to finish all the formalities.

“The flight check-in started at 18:00 on Saturday. We had to connect migration control with the border service before passengers could start crossing the border at the airport,” Tsurkin said.

According to Pyotr Yarosh, the head of the regional Federal Migration Service department, passengers did not have any problems in passing the migration control, the CrimeaInform news agency reports.

“It is the first international flight so far. I believe that it is going to be good both for Simferopol and Crimea. We are going to meet and see off passengers from all over the globe without problems in future,” Yarosh said.

According to Crimea’s Deputy Transport Minister Anatoly Tsurkin, Grozny Avia has made a test flight to Istanbul. The plane will return from Turkey to Crimea with passengers onboard.

“The future flights will depend on economic expediency and the terms of the receiving side,” Tsurkin told Itar-Tass.

“At present we have agreed that (Turkey) will receive the first flight. I find it hard to say how things will go in future,” Tsurkin explained.

Late in June, two Russian air carriers, including Urals Airlines and Grozny Avia, asked the Federal Air Transport Agency for access to international flights from Simferopol.

Urals Airlines are planning to make five flights a week from Simferopol to Baku (Azerbaijan), Yerevan (Armenia), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Dushanbe and Khudzhand (Tajikistan).

Grozny Avia intends to fly from Crimea to Yerevan and Antalya (Turkey) twice a week. The air company will also make daily flights to Istanbul. The Federal Air Transport Agency has given both companies access to the aforesaid international flights.

On June 7, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on opening Simferopol airport to international flights.

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