Tbilisi airport grows 50% in two years; Aegean, Alitalia, British Airways, Estonian Air and Qatar Airways new in 2012

February 2012: Qatar Airways begins daily non-stop operations using A320s on the Tbilisi-Doha route: “A highly underserved part of Europe” according to the Qatar Airways CEO.

February 2012: Qatar Airways begins daily non-stop operations using A320s on the Tbilisi-Doha route: “A highly underserved part of Europe” according to the Qatar Airways CEO.

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 growth Monthly passengers 2009-2012

Source: TAV

Tbilisi Airport: many new airlines in last two years

Tbilisi’s rapid growth has been driven by the launch of many new services in the last two years.

TAV operates the two main airports in Georgia; Tbilisi which serves the capital, and Batumi, a coastal resort on the Black Sea. Tbilisi’s rapid growth has been driven by the launch of many new services in the last two years (summarised below).

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.

This year also saw the launch of a new carrier in Georgia. On 3 August, FlyGeorgia launched operations with a single A319 to Batumi, followed by international service to Antalya and Amsterdam. The airline’s CEO John Kohlsaat has previously worked for easyJet and Germania. The airline’s booking tool also lists Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh and Tehran as bookable destinations.


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