Georgia – Russia: the airline war
The national airline carrier of Georgia, Georgian Airways, has publically stated that the Russian aviation authority has limited the number of flights on the Tbilisi-Moscow-Tbilisi route to four. Three months earlier, the company was also banned from flying to Kazan. Georgian Airways has called upon the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development to step in, as the situation is creating problems for passengers who have already purchased their tickets.
The Russian Ministry of Transportation has confirmed the information, stating it was a response to an earlier incident in May, whereupon the Georgian Aviation authority banned four scheduled summer flights of Russian Urals Airlines from Tbilisi.
Three Russian companies – Aeroflot, Urals Airlines and S7 – are licensed to fly to Tbilisi. The number of flights is over two dozen per week, depending on the season, with Georgian Airlines operating the route on the Georgian side. Last month, the company was considered as the most popular choice among Russian tourists due its pricing policy and service.
Experts told JAMnews that the bans could be a result of the competition for the growing market. The tourist flow from major Russian cities to Georgia is growing rapidly.