Qatar Airways starts flights to Tbilisi
Beginning February 1, Qatar Airways, headquartered in Doha, launched new flights to Georgia and Azerbaijan. Akbar al-Baker, Chief executive officer at Qatar Airways and other high-ranking officials arrived in Tbilisi on the first flight from Doha. Senior representatives from the Georgian government and other distinguished guests met them at Tbilisi International Airport.
“I hope that with this decision the number of tourists, particularly from the gulf countries, will double,” Akbar al-Baker, Chief executive officer at Qatar Airways said at the festive event on Wednesday.
The Georgian Deputy Economic Minister, Irakli Matkava, who met the Qatari delegation in Tbilisi, also hailed this sentiment saying that “the gulf countries have come closer to Georgia, which means that Arab businesses have come closer to Georgia.”
According to the company’s Georgian office, the Tbilisi-Baku-Doha services will depart daily and will be carried out on Airbus 320 aircraft. Ticket prices start at 300 EUR, while the duration of the flight is about 5 hours.
The negotiations for launching flights between Qatar Airways and the Ministry of Economy of Georgia started last year. On February 15, of 2011, Qatar and Georgia signed a major air transport agreement based on “open skies,” which facilitates an ‘unrestricted’ number of flights between the two countries.
While visiting Doha last year, Vera Kobalia, the Georgian Minister of Economy, said that the government’s goal is to make Tbilisi an aviation hub. Under the deal, there would be no restrictions on tariffs or on the number of flights that will be operated between the two countries.
Qatar Airways is a five-star airline. It was established in 1993 and is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. It currently employs more than 15,000 people worldwide. As of January 31, 2011 Qatar Airways serves over 100 destinations and Qatar Airways Cargo serves 19 destinations in 55 countries.
In the future, Qatar Airways plans to launch direct flights to the following destinations: Kigali (Rwanda), Zagreb (Croatia) and Perth (Australia). The exact dates are yet to be announced for Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Helsinki (Finland), Mombasa (Kenya) and Zanzibar (Tanzania) this year.
By Nini Edilashvili