Low-fare airline offering Kutaisi-Kiev for EURO 22
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, June 5Wizz Air Hungary will begin offering Kutaisi-Kiev flights for EURO 22, starting in September.
President Mikheil Saakashvili welcomed the news on Monday, hoping the company will help promote tourism in Georgia.
“This is the main function of this airport,” Saakashvili said, listing the ongoing rehabilitation projects in Imereti. He hoped that one day Wizz Air would also carry out longer flights from Kutaisi, with the similar prices, to other European capitals.
Calling Kutaisi International Airport an important bridge in the region, the President discouraged “unfairly high costs” at Tbilisi and Batumi Airports and accused air companies of “exploiting people”.
He said if they will not reduce prices, passengers would fly instead from Kutaisi. Calling the changes to Kutaisi airport "magic," Saakashvili hoped that airlines will make the lives of local residents easier.
“I want to thank everyone who believes in the great dream we are creating together in Kutaisi,” the President said, referring to the project as "a great step forward".
Currently, there are three airlines flying from Georgia to Kiev. Airzena Georgian Airways, Ukrainian International Airlines, and Aerosvit charge nearly the same prices for tickets: approximately EURO 230 for a one-way flight to Kiev and EURO 395 for a round trip.
Airzena’s Head of Public Relations, Nino Giorgobiani, refused to comment on the President’s statement but in a recent interview with Kronika Airzena’s General Director Gia Okujava spoke harshly about the government's aviation policy. “If a country wants to preserve its own aviation, it [the government] should assist in this sphere,” Okujava said, accusing the government of putting more effort into promoting foreign airlines.
Speaking of the various incentives that establish the price of tickets, Okujava explained that there are lower limits that cannot be violated by any air company for an extended period of time. Airport expenses, aviation safety, oil prices, technical service, and passengers’ insurance are the components which define a price. As Okujava noted, the monopolization of oil prices in Georgia and the world economic crisis have also influenced a decrease in flights out of Georgian airports.