07TBILISI1595, MORE TIME NEEDED TO REOPEN GEORGIA-RUSSIA AIR LINKS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1595 2007-07-03 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2553
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1595 1841446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031446Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6888
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHDC

UNCLAS TBILISI 001595 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EB/TRA/AN 
COMMERCE FOR DANICA STARKS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAIR PGOV PREL GG RU
SUBJECT: MORE TIME NEEDED TO REOPEN GEORGIA-RUSSIA AIR LINKS 
 
1. Georgian Airways announced on July 1 that it is about to start 
periodic charter flights to Moscow, beginning July 3.  The company's 
press release indicated that this is a temporary arrangement between 
the company and Russia's transport administration, facilitated by 
Georgia's Orthodox Church Patriarch.  Georgian Airways said that the 
charter flights do not imply a resumption of the scheduled air 
traffic with Georgia that was suspended by Russia on October 3, 2006 
after the arrest of Russian military spies in Tbilisi. 
 
2. The press characterized the move as evidence of melting ice 
between Russia and Georgia.  Since October last year Georgian 
travelers have been using Kiev or Yerevan as stopovers for accessing 
Russia, thus paying higher airfare than before.  Unfortunately, on 
June 2 Georgian Airways announced that the Russian side has not yet 
sent a note to the Georgian United Transport Administration (UTA) to 
confirm that a flight permit has been issued to the Georgian air 
carrier.  In a conversation with us, the head of the UTA, Irakli 
Taktakishvili, could not hide his irritation about Georgian Airways' 
premature statement trumpeting its success before receiving the 
necessary confirmations. 
 
3. Georgian Airways itself is puzzled by the delay, as concrete 
reasons are not known to them either.  Vice-president of the 
company, Roland Beridze confirmed that preliminary agreement on 
charter flights was achieved with Russia's transport authorities and 
the date was agreed.  Beridze suspects the delay might be caused by 
Russia's desire that the Georgians permit similar flights for 
Russia's Aeroflot as well.  He assured us that Georgian Airways 
would not have any objection to Aeroflot flights. 
 
TEFFT

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