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Some Airlines do not Exclude Leaving Georgian Market

Some foreign airlines operating in Georgia do not exclude the possibility of withdrawal from the market – this is due to the fact that they cannot increase the frequency of flights and  barely retain existing indicators.

For example, the Belarusian airline “Belavia” stopped flights from Batumi due to  the emergence of new players in the market and the financial crisis. Experts believe that not all companies will be able to adapt to new conditions, and many will be forced to leave the market.

As of 2012, the number of passengers who used the services of the Tbilisi Airport was 1 220 832, in 2013 this figure rose to 1 436 629,  in 2014 – up to 1 575 797.
The activity of the Batumi airport is also high, which in 2012 handled 168 362 passengers, and in 11 months of 2014 – 206 805 people.

The activity of Kutaisi airport is  even higher – in 2012 the airport handled 12 932 passengers , in 2013 – 187 939, in 2014 – 218 003.

Representatives of airlines explain this activation by emergence of new competitors, but at the same time declare that in such circumstances , their situation has worsened, and many cannot increase the number of flights, as it was planned.

Among discontented is the   Belarusian “Belavia”, which cannot increase the frequency of flights from July of 2013.

 “We cannot increase the frequency of flights, more than that, it turned out that for a month we do not operate flights to Batumi. If all goes well, it is likely that we will restore Batumi flights in May. Our difficulties  were caused by the emergence of new players. For example, the Russian “Aeroflot” and “Transaero” interested in the Georgian market . “The devaluation of GEL has also negatively affected our work, “- said Director of the Georgian representation of  “Belavia” Vakhtang Mezurnishvili.

“Ukrainian Airlines” also talks about   the problems.

“The Georgian market is not so large to sustain such an influx of new companies, so many will be forced to either reduce the frequency, or leave the country, “- said Lali Beshkenadze, Director of the Georgian representation of “Ukrainian Airlines”.

Some experts consider  the entry of new companies positive for passengers  and a challenge for carriers. According to them, in a highly competitive environment, new players offer lower prices, but it puts in a difficult position already operating airlines – many of them have to reduce prices or reduce the volume of traffic, in the worst case – to leave the market.

“The more airlines will fly – the better for Georgia, despite the fact that many are not satisfied with the appearance of relatively low-cost airlines on the market, since it is difficult to reduce prices. It turns out that the growth of competition is good for passengers, but bad for the carriers,”- Niko Kvaratskhelia, tourism expert, notes.