Georgian Airways will resume transfer flights between Europe and Russia, filling the current gap due to sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With the move, the Tbilisi-based carrier hopes to tap into the limited market of those requiring travel to Russia, currently only possible via Istanbul, Belgrade, or Dubai.
According to The Moscow Times, in an interview with Russian broadcaster RTVI, Georgian Airways’ founder, Tamaz Gaiashvili, said there is “sufficient demand on these routes“ and “it will be more convenient and faster through Tbilisi than in other directions.”
Apart from connecting flights from Europe to Russia, Georgian Airways also resumed flights to Russia, earlier this month, operating to Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport. The flight was the airline’s first appearance in Russia since before the pandemic hit and the former Soviet Union banned flights from Georgia. Now, Russian authorities considered boosting the route by granting Georgian nationals up to 90-day visa-free entry.
The resumption of flights between Georgia and Russia triggered public protests in Tbilisi with the Georgian President, Salome Zurabishvili, declaring a boycott of the Georgian airline. The carrier will go head-to-head with Russian airline Azimuth on the Tblisi to Vnukovo route. Azimuth operates flights to the Georgian capital with its fleet of Sukhoi Superjet 100s.
2. Expanding European flights
Georgian Airways expanded its European operations from its hub at Tbilisi International Airport, launching flights to both Prague and Rome on May 27, with Thessaloniki and Larnaca joining the airline’s route network starting June 15. They will operate alongside the carrier’s existing flights to four other destinations within the EU – Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, and Vienna.
With the European expansion, Georgian Airways will facilitate the transport for EU-based travelers wishing to go to Russia, with direct flights to Moscow. Despite offering a more direct geographical routing than via other airports, such as Dubai or Istanbul, we’re about to discover how much demand there will be for Georgian Airways’ connecting services to Russia.