SOCHI (Itar-Tass) - Moscow and Sukhum may launch the direct air traffic already in early July, Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
Russian passenger liners will first make two Moscow-Sukhum flights a week. “The flights will be made from the Moscow regional airport Chkalovsky and will arrive in Sukhum,” Bagapsh said. In this respect, he noted that the air harbour of the Abkhazian capital is completely ready to receive passenger airliners.
The Sukhum airport Babushary, which is situated 18 kilometers away from the city, was built in the sixties of the previous century and could receive up to 5,000 passengers daily in the peak time of the Black Sea summer vacations until 1993, when the airport was shut down. A 3.6-kilometer-long runway makes it possible for the airport to receive almost all types of civilian airplanes.
“Up to now the air harbour was used just for flights within the republic, as well as flights made by the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Forces in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone and by the UN Observer Mission in Georgia,” Abkhazian Airlines Director-General Vyacheslav Eshba told Itar-Tass. The Abkhazian Airlines makes just one civil flight within the republic – to the highland settlement of Pskhu in the Sukhum Region.
The airport is also ready for operation under technical parameters. “During the war in South Ossetia the Babushary airport has received several dozens of heavy transport airplanes for two days,” Eshba noted.
The first civilian airplane, which landed at the Sukhum airport for the first time in many years, was the airplane of the Russian foreign minister, who arrived in Abkhazia in September 2008.