The Georgian Foreign Ministry (MFA) reported on August 2 that the officials of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “again confirmed” to Konstantine Kavtaradze, Georgia’s Ambassador to Canada and Permanent Representative to ICAO that they consider Sokhumi airport as the part of Georgia’s airspace.
According to the MFA, at the meeting with the Georgian Ambassador, the representatives of ICAO noted that as the United Nations specialized agency, ICAO “supports the position of the UN and the international community and unequivocally recognizes Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
They also underscored that the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention) and ICAO principles “prohibit member states from carrying out such actions in the air navigation, which violate the sovereignty of another country.”
Moreover, according to the MFA, the Georgian territory, including Abkhazia, has been assigned a special code FIR (Flight Information Region), “which cannot be changed” without Georgia’s consent.
“Therefore, whatever the code Russia assigns to Sokhumi airport, ICAO will always consider it part of the Georgian airspace,” the Foreign Ministry explained.
It also noted that Ambassador Kavtaradze asked President of ICAO Council, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, and Secretary General Fang Liu, as well as other ICAO officials and representatives of member states, “to give due assessment to Russia’s illegal attempt, [and] demand [Moscow] to respect international legal norms.”
A day later, on July 27, the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency (GCAA) stated that “no international flights can be conducted to the Sokhumi airport without Georgia’s consent and its oversight on the safety of flights.”
The Sokhumi airport remains closed since 1993. The airport has not been certified by the Georgian aviation authority while the Law of Georgia on Occupied Territories adopted in 2008 bans international flights to and from Abkhazia.