The head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, David Zalkaliani, said that the country wants an early resumption of direct flights to Russia.
The Minister noted that Tbilisi only welcomed the acceleration of this process. According to him, tourism and relations between nations are areas that contribute to de-escalation.
Georgian authorities previously reported a record reduction in tourist flows at Tbilisi and Batumi airports due to the cessation of flights with Russia. The local tourism sector, according to preliminary estimates, will lack more than $ 700 million.
Prime Minister Georgy Gakharia, in turn, said that the authorities advocated the normalization of relations with Russia and the resumption of air traffic. Moreover, in his opinion, the first step in this matter should be taken by Georgia itself.
According to the Press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, the restoration of direct flights is possible only after relations between the two countries are normalized.
At the same time, he emphasized that there were signs of progress on this issue – for example, the first meeting of the Russian and Georgian foreign ministers since 2008 was held in New York.
Since July 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned direct air links with Georgia to Russian carriers. The Ministry of Transport also announced the suspension of flights of Georgian companies to Russia.
These measures were associated with anti-Russian actions in Tbilisi. During the opening of the General Session of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy in June, the Head of the organization, State Duma deputy Sergei Gavrilov, as provided for in the protocol of the event, took the chair of the parliament speaker. This aroused the indignation of local radicals and became the cause of protests.