The ban on Georgian air carriers’ flights to Russia will remain in place until they settle their debts related to air navigation services, Russian Transport Ministry Spokesman Alexander Volkov told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Monday.
"The suspension of flights will remain in effect until Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines provide Russia with an aviation safety program that will have to be audited and approved. At the same time, Georgia needs to fully settle its debt related to air navigation services," he pointed out.
On June 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree imposing a temporary ban on flights, including commercial ones, from Russia to Georgia starting July 8. On June 22, Russia’s Transport Ministry announced that starting on July 8, flights by Georgian airlines to Russia would be halted, TASS reports.
Russia banned flights to and from Georgia following the unrest that erupted in Tbilisi on June 20. The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian legislator’s address in the Georgian parliament. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the flight ban was aimed at ensuring the safety of Russians, who might run into danger in Georgia.
About 54,000 Russian nationals were staying in Georgia at the time when the flight ban was announced. According to Russian Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh, roughly 4,500 of them still haven’t changed their flights so the Ministry has allocated additional funds to ensure they return to Russia until the end of the week.