Georgian Airways outplays Russian competitors on Tbilisi-Moscow route

Passenger traffic between Moscow and Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, reached 179,600 passengers in the first eight months of 2015, up 84% year on year. This unprecedented growth resulted from the resumption of regular air services between the two countries in September 2014, following a period of exclusively charter flights woperated by Georgian Airways and S7 Airlines.

Georgian Airways, Georgia’s national carrier, has been outdoing its Russian competition on the Moscow–Tbilisi route in 2015, according to the Georgian Civil Aviation Authority: it had carried 52,400 passengers by the end of August, compared to 50,500 for S7 Airlines, 47,900 for Aeroflot, and 28,800 for Transaero.

Aeroflot relaunched regular flights to Tbilisi last October, whereas Transaero had to wait for permission from the Georgian authorities, which were concerned about the possibility of fierce competition to the national carrier. Another candidate for the route, Ural Airlines, never received a permit.

It took the Russian and Georgian regulators quite some time to work out fair conditions for flights between the two countries. The final agreement on frequencies and destinations, reached in April, sets restrictions only on flights between the capitals. There may be no more than 21 flights between Moscow and Tbilisi in the summer schedule, and no more than 18 in winter. Any other city pairs remain unregulated, save for the requirement that there may be not more than three regular carriers per each city pair.

The authorities also agreed that both countries’ airlines were free to operate complex routes between the two nations, excluding those connecting Moscow and Tbilisi.

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