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Tbilisi ordered non-flying weather from Sukhum26.03.2010 | 13:22
According to the Abkhazian authorities, Russia assigned a new code to Sukhum Babushera airport and will soon put it in operation. Georgia is insisting upon this right being available only to ICAO international organization, where it is going to complaint. Meanwhile, the flight connection opens brilliant prospects to the Abkhazian economics.
Russia has got no power to assign international codes to the airport of Sukhum. This was stated by the Georgian MFA and the parliament. The information was confirmed by Chairman of the Russian Airline Operators Trade Unions Federation Sergey Kovalev. However, he specified that Russia might petition for Abkhazia in ICAO and obtain the necessary code.
Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Paata Davitaya insists that the Georgian authorities should apply to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The delegate believes it necessary to ask to prohibit the flights to Sukhum and apply certain sanctions to the violating air companies.
The airport of Sukhum is still available in the databases under the Georgian code of UGSS- Babusheri. It had operated under this code until 1993; afterwards, it was closed because of the civil war. The Abkhaz used it from time to time; however, the pilots were said to land blindly in view of the absence of the necessary equipment.
"We need modern navigational system and other infrastructure provision which the Sukhum airport has not got so far, unfortunately", - Prime Minister of Abkhazia Sergey Shamba says. However, no one doubts it will be soon available. Moscow will provide us both with money and the specialists.
In January, the two countries signed the flight connection agreement. They agreed to set up the necessary conditions within their territories for the realization of the flights of another state's aircrafts and their air navigation, technical and airport service.
The talks about the revival of the airport started again after the 2008 war when Abkhazia acquired independence. Georgia, which did not recognize the separation of the republic, immediately protested against Russia's proposal to open the take-off strips. However, the Georgian statements have not yet caused any troubles for the Abkhazians, as well as in case with the Russian ships' presence near the Abkhaz shores and the work of the Russian mobile and TV operations.
Two years ago, Chairman of the Safety and Defense Committee of the Georgian Parliament Givi Targamadze assumed that the flights to Sukhum might be resumed without the Georgians' consent. However, in his opinion, only the Russian planes will fly there because Nicaragua does not need it, as well as Venezuela and Nauru that recognized Abkhazia later. As to the rest of the countries, they will not violate the Georgian laws.
Nevertheless, one of these days, Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergey Shamba reported not only the assignment of the new codes but the fact that the companies of Jordan, Turkey and Russia also want to fly to Sukhum. He says they are interested both in passenger and freight traffic. By the way, the Turkish ships continue navigating to the shores of Abkhazia despite the last year incidents with the detention of the ships by the Georgian patrol boats.
The airport can give second breath to the local tourism. Last year, it managed to attract a greater amount of the holiday-makers than in the years of the republic recognition when the possibility of another conflict was stronger. However, not only the Russian peace guarantees contributed to the tourists flow; Russian investments to the recreational sphere also played their role. Last year, all the sanatoriums and holiday homes in the republic were reconstructed, as well as the famous apery in the capital and the water park for children in Gagra.
Considering the construction of the infrastructure for the coming Olympic Games, the flow of tourists in the nearest time is going to grow, so the flight connection will be most welcome.
As is known, Georgia has also stated its desire to contribute to the development of the republic and the economical and trade connections of the local residents and their foreign contacts. All these facts are stated in the new strategy called "Involvement by way of cooperation". However, the document seems to be several years late: one could have not only promised help but could have made real contribution to the regional development instead of pressing the regions with economical blockade.
It turns out that despite its positive intentions, Georgia is protesting against such an important communication channel as the flight connection. GeorgiaTimes asked the Georgian delegate David Darchiashvili for an explanation of the Georgian position.
- The fact that Georgia is against it seems quite natural to me. According to the international flights regulation rule, each country is responsible for its air space. In this case, the airport is located within the occupied territory and Georgia cannot bear responsibility for what is going on there.
- Does it mean that you protest not only against the codes but against the flight connection as well?