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Direct Flights from Tbilisi to Sochi scheduled

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, January 16
Georgian airline company Airzena is now offering direct flights from Tbilisi to Sochi, Russia. According to Airzena’s Board Chairman Tamaz Gaiashvili the flight will begin from February 4, 2014. "There was a request from Georgians who live in Sochi to launch a direct passenger flight between the two cities. It has taken many difficult negotiations to gain the appropriate permission to enable this flight,” Gaiashvili stated.

Sochi has been the destination of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games scheduled on February 7-23 this year.

Howeverm the head of Georgian Airways marketing service, Tsira Beselia stated that flight may continue twice a week till summer. “This flight was necessary both for regular citizens and for our sportsmen too,” Beselia stated. According to her, Russia has given permission to begin charter flights due to the Sochi Olympic Games. The initial price for one way tickets will be 120 USD.

Georgian Prime Minister's representative in relations with Russian, Zurab Abashidze said he knew about the company’s decision. “I see nothing wrong in this,” he said adding that this is a pure commercial step for the company and they carried on all negotiations on their own. “From my opinion, this more simple for our sportsmen for fly directly to Sochi, then for example to Moscow and then to Sochi,” Abashidze stated.

Both the Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics are being organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC). Sochi was selected as the host city on 4 July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City, defeating bids from Salzburg, in Austria, and Pyeongchang, in South Korea. The Sochi Olympics will be the first Olympics in the Russian Federation since the breakup of the USSR.

In January 2010, airspace between Russia and Georgia reopened and the first direct passenger flight between the two neighbouring countries Georgia and Russia took place following the 2008 war over the South Ossetian breakaway region of Georgia. Moscow has not yet permitted a regular, timetable of the scheduled flights.

Georgian government said they will not attend the Sochi Olympic Games. The same have done some western leaders as well. However to merge sports from politics the Georgian national team consisting of four people will fly to Sochi.

Georgian figure skater, Elene Gedevanishvili, was chosen as the person who will carry the country’s flag at the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. She will be accompanied by three skiers, however one more skier may be added to the team. The Georgians will arrive in Sochi on February 6, a day before the 2014 Winter Olympics will officially start.