Following the success of the inaugural Routes Silk Road in July, the 2015 event will once again take place in Tbilisi, Georgia, hosted by United Airports of Georgia (UAG) under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
Routes Silk Road is the route development forum that connects CIS, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. The event, which will once again take place in the beautiful and historic capital of Georgia, will offer attendees the perfect platform to do business and improve air transport networks to, from and within the region. Over 300 senior-level executives from airlines, airports, tourism authorities and other aviation stakeholders are expected to attend to discuss air service development.
“We are delighted to be returning to Tbilisi next year following the great success of our first-ever Routes Silk Road event,” said Katie Bland, director Routes, UBM Live. “This year’s event proved that Georgia – a corridor connecting several important economic regions – is an ideal location for Routes Silk Road and the number of attendees surpassed our expectations. We are looking forward to working once again with the dedicated team from United Airports of Georgia on Routes Silk Road 2015 and its stakeholders and see this event go from strength to strength.”
The decision by United Airports of Georgia to host the event for the second year running is largely due to the success of the 2014 event and a number of key routes, which they negotiated during Routes Silk Road 2014. Air Arabia and Aeroflot commenced new routes from Tbilisi International Airport in October 2014 (to Sharjah and Moscow respectively). Etihad Airways is due to begin flights from Tbilisi to Abu Dhabi in October 2015. Furthermore, UAG is currently in the process of active negotiations with two airlines to begin routes from Kutaisi International Airport.
“The market for air travel in Georgia and the surrounding region is currently one of the fastest growing in the world. The recent increase in passenger traffic generation is a result of strong development in the regional economy and improved access provided by airlines, as a result of which tourism growth rates exceed 20 percent annually, leading to substantial increases in foreign direct investment. Therefore, it is so very important for us to spread the word about Georgia and our airports to improve their connectivity and attract more low-cost and legacy carriers. Hosting Routes Silk Road this year, proved to be an excellent opportunity to achieve those goals, and we are genuinely excited to welcome the event once again to Georgia in summer 2015,” stated Kate Aleksidze, CEO,UAG.
Hosting Routes Silk Road in 2014 allowed UAG to showcase Georgia as a destination and the interest shown by airlines and the new routes already secured have proved that there is still huge potential for the Georgian aviation market. The media coverage gleaned from the inaugural event placed Georgia at the centre of the aviation industry’s attention and spread throughout the country and the Caucasus region.
UAG, as an Airport Authority of the state, also operates Kutaisi International Airport, which opened in 2012 and is the region’s first low cost airport. It is mostly focused on attracting low-cost carriers to facilitate tourism development in Georgia and Routes Silk Road 2015 promises to help its hosts, UAG, develop more new routes for Kutaisi International Airport as well for Tbilisi and Batumi airports and further promote Georgia to the wider aviation community.
Georgian airports have experienced a robust 17 percent compound average growth rate (CAGR) for the past eight years, with annual increases of between 9 percent and 25 percent, traffic in 2014 was nearly four times the volume achieved in 2005.