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Timetable Glitch Forces Vnukovo Airport to Deny Return of Direct Flights to Georgia

Vladimir Gerdo / TASS

Direct flights between Moscow and the Georgian capital Tbilisi appeared Friday on flight schedules at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, despite ban introduced by Russia in 2019 on air travel to the South Caucasus country, according to media reports.

Vnukovo airport's new flight schedule online showed daily flights between Tbilisi and Moscow, with Georgian Airlines indicated as the carrier, fueling speculation that the Georgian and Russian governments had reached a deal on restoring direct air links between the two countries. 

But the airport later said that a “technical error” had caused the flight to appear on the schedule. 

“There are no changes to Vnukovo’s timetable. At the moment, we’ve identified a technical error on the flight information board. We’re working on fixing it,” an airport representative told RBC. 

Both Russian and Georgia officials in recent months have suggested that direct flights between their countries may be resumed in the near future, a decision that the U.S. State Department has warned against citing concerns that a return of air travel may expose Georgia to sanctions if it serviced Russian aircraft. 

In 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin banned flights between his country and Georgia following mass protests in Tbilisi against a Russian lawmaker's speech to the Georgian parliament. The Kremlin said the decision was based on safety concerns for its citizens. 

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