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10 new airports for Georgia promised by President Saakashvili

By Messenger Staff
Friday, May 13
President Saakashvili of Georgia stated during the opening ceremony at Zugdidi airport runway that he would personally open ten new airports in Georgia and he will personally pilot their first flights. Saakashvili promised that in the near future a new airport building will be completed in Zugdidi as part of an Italian architect's project. The airport will be open in 2012 and the planes will be purchased from France. The flights from Zugdidi airport will go to Mestia/ Svaneti and Batumi. As it is promised that Zugdidi airport will serve local flights whereas Poti airport which is under the construction will become an international airport serving as many places as Tbilisi International Airport is doing now. Poti airport will be finished by 2013 and according to the President it will be biggest airport in the entire Caucasus.

Some analysts are very skeptical about President Saakashvili’s initiative and enthusiasm thinking that there is no need to construct so many airports in such a small area of western Georgia. There is Kopitnari airport in Kutaisi already with some infrastructure and a runway. There is Batumi International Airport too. To drive from Kopitnari to Batumi takes roughly 2 and a half hours and 1 and a half hours to Poti. Approximately the same time is needed to drive from Poti to Batumi. It can take two hours of driving to get from Kopitnari to Zugdidi or from Zugdidi to Batumi. The question is, is there a need to build new international airport in Poti, another smaller one in Zugdidi when both these areas are in the range of around two hours drive from either Kopitnari or Batumi? Is this not too much of luxury for the country where more than 60% of population is in a difficult economic situation.