Georgian Airlines to Repay Debt

Russia and Georgia reached an agreement on the repayment of airline debt by March 10, clearing the way for air traffic to resume almost a year and a half after it was severed.

Andrei Pryanishnikov, a spokesman for the Federal Air Navigation Service, said Wednesday that terms had been agreed with Georgian authorities for the repayment by March 10 of $2 million owed by Georgian airlines.

Russia cut road, rail, air and sea links with Georgia, in October 2006.

President Vladimir Putin announced an agreement in principle on lifting the air traffic ban on Feb. 21 after a meeting in Moscow with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Georgian Economy Minister Eka Sharashidze said Russia was seeking repayment of $3 million in total from 15 Georgian airlines.

A spokeswoman for Airzena, Georgia's largest airline, said the company had "no financial obligations" to Russia. Airzena owns five airplanes and flies to nine cities abroad.