Georgian Air Navigation rejects reports on runway problems on German FM’s landing

The Air Navigation Agency attributed the aborted first attempt to “pilot’s decision” and said repeated landing attempts were “normal practice” and never considered as an incident. Photo: Foreign Ministry press office, 24 Mar 2023 - 12:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Air Navigation Agency, a company operating under the country’s Ministry of Economy, on Friday rejected reports by Der Spiegel about complications on the runway of the Tbilisi International Airport forcing the aircraft carrying German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to abandon its first landing run at the facility.

The company’s comments came after Der Spiegel said the German FM’s plane - arriving from the North Macedonian capital Skopje - had been scheduled to land at 11pm Tbilisi time before the presence of another aircraft on the runway forced a 20 minute delay in its landing.

The magazine said the plane had landed “without any problems” in the second attempt.

In its comments, the Agency denied the second run had been caused by the presence of an aircraft on the runway during the first landing attempt of the German Minister’s Airbus A340-300, stressing the landing strip had been “completely free” for the initial landing.

At about 11 pm on March 23 the Airbus A340-300, having the German Foreign Minister on board, landed at Tbilisi International Airport on the second attempt. The Georgian Air Navigation firmly denies the information by the German Der Spiegel, claiming the  plane had a problem due to another aircraft on the runway. The runway was completely free and according to the primary reports, it was the pilot’s decision solely. It should also highlight that the decision of the crew to take the second run during the landing is a conservative, normal practice in civil aviation and is not considered as an incident" the agency said

Georgian Deputy FM Khatuna Totladze welcomed her German counterpart at Tbilisi airport. 

Baerbock is on her first official visit to Georgia.