The Georgian airlines company Airzena protests against the Russian-Georgian agreement on the resumption of air links between the two countries, which provides Russian and Georgian airlines the right to operate 18 flights per week.
According to the company’s CEO Iase Zautashvili, the Ministry has decided against the interests of the Georgian aviation market, effectively transferring all airspace in the hands of Russian carriers.
“The Ministry’s decision satisfies only the Russian companies, the Russian Federation. And Georgian officials who deliberately seek to bankrupt local carriers. The Ministry of Economy decided to increase frequency of flights without agreeing with anyone. From the beginning we said that there would be no benefit for Georgia and so it happened. Passenger traffic has not changed since October 2014, remaining at approximately the same level. According to the current agreement, six flights a day will be performed only to Moscow, despite the fact that even in the Soviet times their number was ranging between 7-8. It is unclear who and why needs so many flights, especially now, when the two countries have a visa regime, major Russian tour operators go bankrupt, and the country experiences the crisis,”- Zautashvili notes.
According to him, the information that passenger traffic from Russia increased by 46% in November-February is an absolute lie.
“There is no growth in passenger traffic and is not expected in the near future. This decision did not bring anything to the budget. Direct benefit was received only by the Russian airlines which get richer at the expense of our citizens. The agreement provides for an increase in the list of cities where it will be possible to fly from Georgia, but it is unclear why quantitative restrictions were removed, and what the Representative of the Prime Minister for Relations with Russia did. Why then visa requirements for citizens of Georgia have not been abolished? What is happening now – is a concerted effort to bankrupt Georgian companies. This question should be studied in the parliamentary committee on sector economy. MPs should take an interest in the expansion of Russian airlines in the Georgian market. We are waiting for interest on the part of our government, and if nothing changes, we will consider the question of whether we should continue to work in the market,”- Iase Zautashvili adds.
Currently, Airzena flies from Tbilisi to Moscow once a day, sometimes – twice.
Russian and Georgian aviation administration has reached agreement on all issues related to the resumption of air links, such as the frequency of flights, geographic area, etc. In particular, direct flights will be restored not only in the direction of Moscow, but also 6 other cities in Russia – St. Petersburg, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Sochi, Rostov, and MinVodi. The frequency of flights was also set – in winter – each of the parties will be able to fly 18 times a week, in the summer – 21.