Georgian Airways employees announce protest action against airport operator

Georgian Airways, the Georgian flag airline, is planning to hold a protest action at the Tbilisi International Airport at the nearest weekend.

The action will be held under the “Protect the Georgian” slogan. The airline demands to remove TAV Urban Georgia, Turkey, from the Georgian civil aviation market. This company has the rights to manage the Tbilisi International Airport until 2027.

The Air Company’s message on its official Facebook page notes that because of too expensive maintenance of TAV Urban, Georgian Airways cannot reduce prices for air tickets.

“Unfortunately, we have no other way, and we have to ask you to stand by us to force TAV Urban Georgia to leave Georgia. Otherwise, they will continue to operate our airport at least until 2027. At the end of this week, we plan to arrange a protest action on the territory of the Tbilisi International Airport and urge you to support,” the statement said, as it was addressed to the residents of the country.

The owners of Georgian Airways promised to provide more detailed information about the upcoming action in the near future.

Since March 2018, Georgian Airways has carried out flights to 22 destinations, most recently – to London, Brussels, Berlin, Bologna, Bratislava, Paris, Barcelona, ​​Cologne, Kharkov, Kazan, Athens and Thessaloniki. The airline also flies to Moscow and Kiev.

Meanwhile, TAV Urban believes that Georgian Airways “mislead the public”. In its response, the airport operator claims that it does not prevent airlines from lowering air ticket prices.

TAV Urban Georgia cites a study of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for 2017, according to which only 25% of the total cost of the air ticket includes the costs associated with the airport, and the remaining 75% – the costs of the airline itself.

The Turkish company also claims that from the total cost of Georgian Airways’ roundtrip air tickets, they own only US $33.

“The cost of air tickets selling by Georgian Airways for flights to Moscow and Kiev is much higher than the ones of such airlines, as Aeroflot, Pobeda and Ukraine International Airways. It should be noted that these foreign airlines do not enjoy similar special discounts. Moreover, unlike Georgian Airways, TAV Georgia provides them with all ground services,” the TAV statement says.

Reference 1: TAV Urban Georgia is a subsidiary of the Turkish company TAV Airports Holding. In May 2007, a modern airport was built in Tbilisi. The Turkish company received the rights to manage the airport until 2027 and the obligation to invest about US $ 30 million in its development. Since May 2007, the company has also been granted the right to manage the new airport in Batumi for a 20-year period.

Reference 2: There is no state airline in Georgia. The largest airline in the country, Georgian Airways or Airzena, as it is also called, is a private one. In this regard, the airline complains of competition with national airlines, which set dumping prices on the market thanks to the financial support of their governments.

It should be noted that the confrontation between Georgian Airways and TAV Urban has been going on for more than a year.

A year ago, Georgian Airways appealed to the government with a request to provide financial assistance to the company and accused the Georgian Airports Association in granting benefits to the national air carriers of Russia’s Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines.

“We would like to remind you that Airzena is a Georgian airline that has been operating since 1993. During this time, the airline has contributed hundreds of millions of GEL to the state budget and now it provides work for more than 500 qualified personnel. In conditions of healthy and fair competition, Georgian aviation will develop even faster and will be able to provide more people with jobs,” the air carrier justified its position in such a way.

Turkish Airlines is a leader of the Georgian civil aviation market in terms of the number of transported passengers. In January-March 2018, this airline carried over 101,000 passengers.

According to the Georgian Forbes edition, the Top – 10 of air carriers in Georgia for three months of 2018 looks like this:

  • Turkish Airlines – 101,314 passengers;
  • Georgian Airways – 93,333 passengers;
  • Wizz Air – 73,156 passengers;
  • Fly Dubai – 53,575 passengers;
  • Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) – 52,507 passengers;
  • Aeroflot – 37,651 passengers;
  • S7 Airlines – 37,553 passengers;
  • Zagros Airlines – 33,552 passengers;
  • Pobeda – 31,814 passengers;
  • Pegasus – 31,814 passengers.

As for destinations, during the reporting period, most often from Georgia passengers flew to Istanbul – 142,578 people. The second most popular destination was Moscow – 125,595 passengers flew from Georgia to the Russian capital city in January – March 2018. 92,190 passengers were delivered from Georgia to Tehran, and 53,103 passengers – to Dubai.

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