Tbilisi (GBC) - Georgian Deputy Economy Minister Mariam Kvrivishvili on Wednesday accused Giorgi Kodua, the founder of Air Georgia, of “intentionally spreading false and biased information” on the Government having prevented the airline from launching direct flights to the United States.

Kodua on Tuesday said he had been in a meeting “months ago” at the Ministry of Economy, with the involvement of “several employees” from the US Embassy, where he alleged the Georgian side had expressed its “readiness” for launching flights to the country.

“I raised the issue and involved the US Embassy, I brought representatives to the Minister of Economy. At the meeting, the Ministry [officials] said they welcomed this [initiative], but when the meeting was over, they told me that if possible, I should refrain from organising these flights”, – Kodua said.

In her response, Kvrivishvili said Air Georgia's certificates for aircraft operation, transport and carriage had been cancelled by the Civil Aviation Agency in December 2022 due to removal of the only aircraft operated by the company - an Airbus 330-343 - from the State Registration of Civil Aircraft upon the request of its owner.

“According to the requirements of the legislation, absence of an aircraft in the operation of an airline is one of the direct grounds for cancellation of aircraft operator's certificate and transportation and carriage certificate”, Kvrivishvili said..

She further added the three-year business plan submitted by Air Georgia to the Civil Aviation Agency had not included the launch of air traffic with the United States.