Aug 27 2008

Moscow, 26 August: The Georgian civil aviation department unreasonably
refuses to serve flights from Russia in Georgian airspace, a spokesman
for the State Corporation for Organizing Air Traffic in the Russian
Federation FGUP [federal state unitary enterprise] told ITAR-TASS
today, commenting on the situation that has evolved with the serving
of aircraft over Georgian territory.

"On 25 August, the Tbilisi aviation authorities refused, without
explaining the reasons, to serve the aircraft of the Volgaaviaekspress
airline on the flight from Volgograd to Yerevan", a spokesman for
the state corporation said, recalling that "the route in question had
been approved by the Georgian side for the entire 2008 spring-summer

There was a similar situation on 19 August with an aircraft of the
Armavia airlines flying from Domodedovo [in Moscow] to Yerevan. When
the Russian side inquired about the flight, the Georgian civil aviation
department sent a telegram giving the reason for the refusal, namely
the introduction of restrictions on flights in Georgian airspace:
"enforced shutdown of the secondary radar by Russian troops in the
town of Senaki in Georgia and the high volume over air traffic in
Georgian airspace".

However, letters exchanged between the director of the
Sakaeronavigatsia public company (the Georgian air navigation
service provider) and a representative of the IATA (International
Air Transport Association) on 25 August said that the operation of
the radar position in Senaki had resumed on the morning of 24 August,
and that the Georgian air traffic control system was fully ready to
serve the flights of civilian aircraft and provide the required level
of flight safety. [Passage omitted]

Airlines flying to or from Russia carry out up to 150 flights a day
through Georgian airspace.

Originally published by ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian
1535 26 Aug 08.