TBILISI, July 9 (Itar-Tass) - Georgian and Russian transport ministries will hold consultations on resumption of direct regular flights between the two countries until the end of July, the Georgian prime minister’s special envoy on Russia, Zurab Abashidze, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
He noted that “at this stage representatives of the two countries’ relevant ministries are finalizing where such consultations will take place - in Moscow or in Tbilisi - as well as their date.”
Restoration of a direct air link between Russia and Georgia and some other issues were discussed during a telephone conversation with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on Monday, Abashidze said.
“Solutions to transport problems between the two countries along with trade, economic and humanitarian issues top the agenda of the talks within the framework of direct bilateral dialogue with Grigory Karasin,” he said.
Abashidze told Itar-Tass that this time “the conversation focused on easier visa rules for certain categories of Georgian citizens.” “This is a pressing issue and it is now being discussed.”
Speaking about their next bilateral meeting with Karasin, Abashidze said “its date and place will be finalized in the near future.”
On June 17 Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said “Russia’s transport agencies and ministry are ready to hold talks on transport issues with Georgian counterparts, mainly those related to air link.”
A direct air link between the two countries was suspended in August 2008 at the initiative of Russia. In 2010 Airzena Georgian Airways launched first charter flights between Tbilisi and Moscow. Since 2011 several other Georgian and Russian air companies have been carrying out flights between the two countries’ cities. The demand for these flights is too high over huge passenger traffic between the two countries, but extremely high plane ticket prices force many passengers to fly through third countries, as such travels cost much less.