Air traffic to Georgia to decrease by 9% in winter season due to conflict with Russia

During the winter air navigation period 2019-2020, an average of 340 scheduled flights a week will be operated from Georgia’s international airports, which is by 9.3% lower than a year ago, the country’s Civil Aviation Agency estimated.

Until the last Saturday of March 2020, 32 foreign airlines, as well as Georgia’s Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines will fly to Georgia.

Regular passenger flights from Tbilisi International Airport will be carried out to 26 countries with 37 destinations, from Kutaisi International Airport – to 18 countries with 30 destinations, and from Batumi International Airport – to six countries.

During the winter season 2019/2020, regular cargo flights will also be operated from Tbilisi International Airport to Baku, Luxembourg (from Tbilisi to Ashgabat) and Istanbul, which will be operated by Silk Way, Cargolux and Turkish Cargo.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin banned Russian airlines from flying to Georgia since July 8, 2019. This was caused by the protests in Tbilisi on June 20, caused by the arrival of deputies of the State Duma at the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy. In the Kremlin, these events saw a threat to Russian citizens. The Russian Ministry of Transport at the same time banned Georgian airlines from flying to Russia.

Prior to this decision, over 40 airlines operated in Georgia’s airline market in 2019, including eight Russian airlines, namely Aeroflot and its Pobeda group, S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines, Smartavia (the new brand of Nordavia), Red Wings, UTair, as well as Severstal Airlines, which has operated several flights.

In 2018, Georgian airports served 5.03 million passengers, which is by 23.6% more than in the previous year. Over the past year, the growth rate of passenger traffic in Georgian airports was 23-36%, in the first half of 2019, passenger traffic increased by 20-25% year on year. According to the results of January-October 2019, the passenger flow of Georgian airports increased by only 4%, as compared to the same period in 2018.

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