The hosting of last year’s inaugural Routes Silk Road forum in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi has left such a lasting legacy for airport operator United Airports of Georgia (UAG) that it will be hosting the event for a second successive year during 2015 under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
ROUTES SILK ROAD 2015 will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia, hosted by United Airports of Georgia, under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. It will be held at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi between July 5-7, 2015. Find out more here: Routes Silk Road 2015
The decision by United Airports of Georgia to host the event for the second year running is largely due to the success of the 2014 event and a number of key routes which they negotiated during Routes Silk Road 2014. Speaking to Routesonline at the recent Routes Europe forum in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, Kate Aleksidze, chief executive officer, United Airports of Georgia, confirmed just some of the successes since last year’s event. These include new links to Sharjah and Moscow from Air Arabia and Aeroflot Russian Airlines, respectively.
“We are happy that last year turned out to be one of the remarkable and interesting events. After Routes Silk Road 2014 it has been a successful past year for Georgia’s airports as we have a number of new flights coming into the country,” she said.
It is not just Tbilisi International Airport that has secured new connectivity but Kutaisi International Airport which opened in 2012 as the region’s first low-cost airport will also be served by Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport on a three times weekly basis from May 19, 2015.
Kate Aleksidze, CEO of UAG said: “The market for air travel in Georgia and the surrounding region is currently one of the fastest growing in the world. The recent increase in passenger traffic generation is a result of strong development in the regional economy and improved access provided by airlines, as a result of which tourism growth rates exceed 20 percent annually, leading to substantial increases in foreign direct investment. Therefore, it is so very important for us to spread the word about Georgia and our airports to improve their connectivity and attract more low-cost and legacy carriers,” added Aleksidze.
Located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia is a historical and hospitable country, which is a gateway connecting several important economic regions including Europe, the Newly Independent States (NIS), Turkey, the Caucasus as well as Central Asia. As a geographical centre of gravity, air traffic has been consistently moving towards east and south, and this trend is expected to continue into the future. The geographical location of countries like Georgia is becoming more important on a global scale, serving air traffic growth and further development of the aviation industry in general.
In recent years Georgia has seen unprecedented growth of air transport, passengers and number of tourists – passenger numbers alone have grown by over 30 per cent since 2012, but hosting Routes Silk Road in 2014 allowed UAG to showcase Georgia as a destination and the interest shown by airlines and the new routes already secured have proved that there is still huge potential for the Georgian aviation market. The media coverage gleaned from the inaugural event placed Georgia at the centre of the aviation industry’s attention and spread throughout the country and the Caucasus region.
“We hope that hosting the event this year will give us even more exposure to the aviation world and bring even more carriers. We are at the moment very much interested in new Asian destinations. However our main goal for all our airports is to have more point-to-point destinations. In that direction we would like to work with the low-cost and of course legacy carriers to ensure those markets that are underserved or not served at the moment can gain new connectivity,” said Aleksidze.
You can see our full interview with Kate Aleksidze, chief executive officer, United Airports of Georgia, below...