Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Akaki Saghirashvili, within the frames of the visit to Saudi Arabia, signed an Agreement on Air Traffic between the Government of Georgia and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Deputy Minister stated after the signing ceremony that the Agreement provides ground for legislative framework between the two countries in terms of air traffic, which makes it even more attractive for air companies to launch direct regular flights. It will also facilitate strengthening of the trade and economic relations and development of the tourism. “The Agreement is based on a liberal, “open sky” principle which allows air companies to independently define the capacities and the frequency of the flights as well as the destinations,” – Akaki Saghirashvili said.
Within the frames of the Summit, the Deputy Minister delivered speech at the first panel of the ministerial session and overviewed Georgia’s civil aviation sector, the reforms and the results achieved. The Deputy Minister highlighted that the transport sector, including the civil aviation, is one of the priority sectors of the economic development and the aviation sector is one of the largest employers in the country generating jobs directly in the field as well as in the related sectors.
In addition, the Deputy Minister also noted that Georgia is pursuing a liberal political course in civilian aviation, which is positively reflected at the increased traffic flow annually. Recent increase of the tourist inflow to Georgia and the newly established trend in the sector caused by the entry of new airlines to the market led to the increased passenger inflow at the Georgian airports. Particularly, in 2018, the number of passengers served at Georgian airports equaled to 5,0 million passengers, which is by 24% higher indicator compared to 2017, when this number amounted to 4,1 million passengers.
According to Deputy Minister, Georgia is actively working on introduction of regulations and directives stipulated by the agreement between Georgia and EU and Its Member-states on Single Air Space, which also means the fulfillment undertaken under the Georgia-EU Association Agreement in the Civil Aviation direction.
Akaki Saghirashvili also spoke about the active working process in terms of improvement of the aviation infrastructure to effectively meet the needs emerged due to increased passenger inflow. According to Saghirashvili, on May 28, 2015, the TAV-Urban Georgia, within the new international concession agreement, fully repaired the runway and light signal system of the Tbilisi International Airport. In September of 2017, the new arrival terminal was officially opened. The Tbilisi Air Traffic Management Center was expanded in order to provide the safe services for the constantly increasing air transit routes. At this point, works are also been processed at the Kutaisi International Airport for expansion of its capacities.
Speaking at the session, Akaki Saghirashvili emphasized the results of the last comprehensive audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in terms of aviation safety and security. According to the audit results, Georgia’s overall rate for effective implementation of international aviation standards and practice of civil aviation equals to 87,64%. “With this new indicator, Georgia is on the 30th position in the world in terms of implementation and supervision of the international aviation standards, on the tenth position in Europe, and on the first position in the region according to security audit data. As for the aviation security index, the introduction of the relevant standards and practices, this indicator reached 89,8%, which is an improvement by 58% compared to the audit data from 2008,” – Saghirashvili noted.
The delegation of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development will complete its visit to Saudi Arabia on 3 April.