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Charter Flights Between Tbilisi and Sochi to Resume

Direct charter flights will resume between Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the southern Russian city of Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in February and March.

Biweekly flights operated by Airzena Georgian Airways will get under way on Feb. 4, the airline's management said, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday.

Regular flights between Georgia and Russia were interrupted in the wake of the brief conflict that broke out between the two countries in August 2008 over the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

A number of air traffic routes between the countries reopened in 2010, and Russia has made a further concession for the Games, the airline said.

"Russia has given permission; flights will be conducted until May. Perhaps those direct flights will also continue over summer due to even higher demand among passengers," the airline said.

The airline will use Bombardier CRJ planes that can carry 90 passengers.

The expansion of direct air traffic routes between Russian and Georgia is seen by many as a sign of gradually improving diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in December that Russia is ready to resume diplomatic relations with Georgia, and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that progress had been made on implementing visa-free travel with Georgia.

Charter flights are currently operating between some key destinations in Russia and Georgia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Karasin added.

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