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Aviation community heads to Routes Silk Road

The second Routes Silk Road — the route development forum that connects Asia, the CIS, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East — will open this weekend in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event will bring together leading airports, airlines, tourism authorities, policy-makers and aviation stakeholders to develop new air service to, from and within the region.

Hosted by United Airports of Georgia (UAG) and supported by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Routes Silk Road will take place in the Georgian capital July 5 – 7 at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel. Up to 250 delegates are expected to attend the event, representing over 45 airports and 35 airlines including AZAL, AirAsia X, Air China, China Southern, Turkish Airlines, Vueling, Aeroflot, Ukraine International Airlines, easyJet, Air Astana, Air Baltic, Wizz Air and Atlasjet.

Kate Aleksidze, CEO of UAG commented, “We are absolutely delighted to host the aviation community from all over the world in Georgia. Routes Silk Road 2014 proved to be a perfect opportunity for UAG together with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the National Tourism Administration (GNTA) to join the forces and promote the country together as a destination, as well its separate airports to expand the air network.”

She added, “Hosting Routes Silk Road, again in 2015, gives a new opportunity to UAG and to our partners to further expand our network and attract new airlines into the Georgian market. It gives us a unique chance to reinforce the strategic position of Georgian airports in the region and support further growth of tourism and economic development of the country as well put Georgia as a destination on the map.”

“We are delighted to be returning to Tbilisi following the great success of our first ever Routes Silk Road event last year,” said Katie Bland, director, Routes, UBM EMEA. “Last year’s event proved that Georgia was an ideal location for us to bring together representatives from the aviation community across the Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, CIS and Middle East regions. The market for air travel in Georgia and the surrounding region is currently among the fastest growing in the world and the size and diverse terrain of the Silk Road area make air travel an attractive transportation option that is expected to increase as personal incomes rise. This year’s event aims to further improve the connections between these regions and the discussions held over the next few days will continue to shape the future of air transport in the region.”

One of the highlights of the event will be the Routes Silk Road Strategy Summit, which will take place July 5-6. It will be opened by Giorgi Kvirikashvili Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development & Vice Prime Minister of Georgia with a keynote address. Over 25 high-level industry leaders will participate in discussions covering some of the key issues affecting the industry today, including Kate Aleksidze, CEO of United Airports of Georgia; Alla Peressolova, Head of the Silk Road Program for the UNWTO; Yevgen Treskunov, Strategic Development & International Relations Committee, Airports Association of Ukraine (AUCA); Leonid Sergeev, CEO of Krasnodar and Sochi Airports (Basel Aero); Christophe Viatte, Chief Commercial Officer for Air Baltic; George Chogovadze, Head of Georgia National Tourism Administration; and Robert Ludera, Network Planning Manager for LOT Polish Airlines.

This will be the second time that United Airports of Georgia will host the event, building on the success of last year’s edition including a number of new air routes with key markets that they secured subsequently. Air Arabia and Aeroflot commenced new routes from Tbilisi International Airport in October 2014 (to Sharjah and Moscow respectively). Furthermore, UAG is currently in the process of active negotiations with two airlines to serve Kutaisi International Airport.

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