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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgia Flights Deal is Delayed

TBILISI, Georgia -- Russia on Tuesday denied clearance for a jet to fly the first regular passenger service between Tbilisi and Moscow after a nine-month suspension, but Russian officials said it was just a temporary hitch.

Airzena Georgian Airlines said Friday that it had reached agreement with Russia to fly charter flights in July and possibly in August. The first plane was to fly to Moscow on Tuesday, but Airzena said Russia had changed its mind at the last minute, grounding the plane.

"On Friday we got Russia's consent. But now they say nothing was decided and don't see any such decision being made in the near future. They insist on the continuation of negotiations," said Aka Sanikidze, director of Airzena's marketing department.

Russian officials said that only technical problems had caused the delay.

"It's a procedural issue ... and is not political," said Gennady Loshchenov, head of the Transportation's Ministry's civil aviation department.