Riding the crest of an improving economic wave, Georgia’s airports are continuing to report an upward trend in their numbers of travellers, albeit at a slightly slower rate than last year.
In the first half of this year the country’s airports collectively handled more than 2.1 million passengers, up 31 per cent on the same period last year, the country’s Novosti-Gruziya newswire reports, referring to data collected by the country’s Civil Aviation Agency.
Whereas the number of passengers is higher this year, the growth rate has slowed slightly from 48.6 per cent year-on-year for the first half of 2017 to 43.4 per cent for the entire year. Georgia’s primary air gateway, Shota Rustaveli International Airport, which is situated at the capital city of Tbilisi, was responsible for 76 per cent of the traffic, handling 1.6 million passengers, up 30 per cent year-on-year.
Among fresh contributors to this growth trend are newcomer Kuwait-based low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways, which launched scheduled thrice-weekly flights from Kuwait to Tbilisi in June, and Georgia’s own start-up Myway Airlines, which commenced services from the capital city airport in April.
Batumi, serving the tourism resort city on the shores of the Black Sea, is currently the fastest growing airport in the country, handling 190,000 passengers in the period, outperforming its first half of 2017 performance by an impressive 43 per cent.
Kutaisi airport, the second largest in the country, reported a 28 per cent year-on-year growth, to 236,600 passengers. Even Georgia’s smaller regional airports at Mestia and Ambrolauri (the latter became operational in early 2017) registered an average of 30 per cent growth, having jointly served 3,630 passengers on 156 flights in the period.
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