Tbilisi airport grows 50% in two years; Aegean, Alitalia, British Airways, Estonian Air and Qatar Airways new in 2012
The recent democratic elections in Georgia gained global attention, and helped give the country some valuable, positive media coverage. The country is about the same size as Ireland, with a population of just 4.5 million, and shares boundaries with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey, as well as having a coastal region adjacent to the Black Sea. There are two main airports in Georgia; Tbilisi that serves the capital, and Batumi, a coastal resort on the Black Sea. Passenger numbers in Tbilisi have been growing strongly in recent years – up 50% between 2009 and 2011 – and last year saw Tbilisi handle over one million passengers for the first time since independence over 20 years ago. Both of the country’s main airports are operated by TAV of Turkey, which completed a new 2.8 million Tbilisi terminal in 2007.
Tbilisi Airport: many new airlines in last two years
|Launch Date||Airline||Destination||WF (aircraft type)|
|26 August 2010||S7||Moscow (DME)||3 (A319)|
|12 September 2010||LOT Polish Airlines||Warsaw (WAW)||3 (E175)|
|1 October 2010||Georgian Airways||Tehran (IKA)||2 (CRJ200)|
|9 October 2010||Pegasus||Istanbul (SAW)||7 (B738)|
|17 March 2011||ATA Airlines||Tehran (IKA)||2 (MD80)|
|2 June 2011||Air Astana||Almaty (ALA)||3 (E190)|
|11 June 2011||China Southern Airlines||Urumqi (URC)||3 (B73G)|
|4 November 2011||flydubai||Dubai (DXB)||2 (B738)|
|1 February 2012||Qatar Airways||Doha (DOH)||7 (A320)|
|8 April 2012||Estonian Air||Tallinn (TLL)||4 (CRJ900)|
|11 June 2012||Aegean Air||Athens (ATH)||2 (A320)|
|2 July 2012||Alitalia||Rome (FCO)||2 (A320)|
|26 July 2012||UTair Ukraine||Donetsk (DOK)||2 (eqv)|
|3 August 2012||FlyGeorgia||Batumi (BUS)||4 (A319)|
|28 August 2012||FlyGeorgia||Antalya (AYT)||2 (A319)|
|30 September 2012||FlyGeorgia||Amsterdam (AMS)||2 (A319)|
|13 October 2012||British Airways||London Heathrow (LHR)||4 (A321)|
|Source: anna.aero new route database WF: Weekly Frequency|
The range of new services covers major cities in Central and Western Europe, the Middle East and even China. Low-cost carriers are present thanks to flydubai and Pegasus. The British Airways service starting later this week replaces the service previously operated by bmi British Midland.
FlyGeorgia set to rival Georgian Airways?
Georgian Airways, with a current fleet of six aircraft (737-500s and CRJs), currently operates non-stop from Tbilisi to Amsterdam, Athens, Batumi, Kharkov, Moscow Vnukovo, Paris CDG, Tehran, Tel Aviv and Vienna. It also operates flights from Batumi to Kiev, Moscow Domodedovo, Odessa and Tehran. The airline has orders with Boeing for 737-700s, 737-800s, 787-900s (in 2018) and three Embraer E195s.