Two of this year’s Routes events have helped bring the return of an important air link between Georgia and Ukraine. Ukraine International Airlines will introduce a new link between Kharkiv International Airport and Kutaisi Airport before the end of this year following meetings at Routes Silk Road in Tbilisi, Georgia in July and most recently at World Routes in Durban, South Africa last month.
The new air link will be introduced from December 18, 2015 and will be operated on a twice weekly basis using a mix of Boeing 737 and Embraer 190 equipment. The flights will operate from Kharkiv on Tuesdays and Fridays and from Kutaisi on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“During Routes Silk Road, United Airports of Georgia had discussions with Kharkiv International Airport on the subject of relaunching the direct route. The offer was finalised at World Routes in Durban with Ukraine International Airlines,” confirmed Dea Matchavariani, Business Development Manager, United Airports of Georgia.
“During Routes Silk Road, United Airports of Georgia had discussions with Kharkiv International Airport on the subject of relaunching the direct route. The offer was finalised at World Routes in Durban with Ukraine International Airlines.”Dea Matchavariani
Business Development Manager, United Airports of Georgia
The resumption of the route follows around 18 months after it was last served by Wizz Air Ukraine. The carrier, the local subsidiary of the Central and Eastern European low-cost specialist, introduced an up to three times weekly service in July 2013 but closed the route in June 2014 due to the political situation in Ukraine having carried around 35,000 passengers.
Before Wizz Air Ukraine’s arrival, the Kharkiv – Kutaisi route was served by Georgian Airways on a weekly basis between November 2007 and December 2011, while before that MARS also served the route in summer 2007. These flights served the former Kutaisi Airport which was closed in late 2011 for renovation and re-opened in September 2012 as David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport, Georgia’s first low-cost airport.
The facility, named after David IV, who is considered Georgia’s most successful ruler, has been a major success for United Airports of Georgia and is now handling around eleven per cent of the country’s total aviation traffic: over the past five years passenger numbers have grown from just 7,446 in 2010 to a record 218,003 last year.