“We are working on the construction of a new, modern, international-class airport realistically poised to become a hub; and the former Vaziani Airfield in Tbilisi is an ideal location to this end,” stated Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
The Prime Minister pointed to the existing airport’s downsides and limitations, saying that in reality, it does not offer much opportunity for significant development.
Garibashvili noted that if Georgia wants to actually become an aviation hub in the region, the existing airport and its location do not allow for the achievement of this goal.
“I would say that this is a quite ambitious decision on our part, but I believe that today we have enough capabilities and experience, and-most importantly-the goal of becoming the region’s aviation hub. We have said repeatedly that the country has the potential for this. And it is toward this goal that we started working.
“The Ministry of Economy has been working actively for a few months now. And, generally, I would like to offer my brief assessment of the existing airport. You probably agree that it is not satisfactory and does not meet the challenges and our ambitious goals. We plan to target a long-term project. It cannot be a 5- or 10-year project. We have analyzed two options. One is the development and expansion of the existing airport, but let’s allow more qualified specialists speak about it. This airport has its downsides and limitations, and in reality does not offer much opportunity for significant development, especially if we want to become the region’s aviation hub-this airport- its territory, does not allow for that.
“We raised this issue at the Economic Council meeting. We discussed it and concluded that, if we want to care about the country with 20-, 30-, 50-, or even 100-year prospects in mind, and if we want to hand down to our future generations proper infrastructure and a well-functioning airport, a new location must be sought. And the former Vaziani Airfield in Tbilisi is an ideal location to this end.
“On my instructions, the Ministry of Economy has been actively working in this direction over the past few months. To look over this project, we want to invite the best designers, builders, and architects, to inspect the location, and only then make a final decision. We are talking about the construction of a new, modern, international-class airport realistically poised to become a hub. It must be an international class, transit-logistic airport accommodating the needs of modern passengers.
“We also discussed the construction of good terminals, and so on. We will discuss this topic in more detail in time, and I believe that this is a very ambitious and yet necessary project for the country.
“The existing airport meets today’s requirements, of course. But if we want to plan a long-term project, the implementation of a new, ambitious project is in order.
“Over the past few years, we have observed a 25% annual increase in the country’s passenger traffic, which is very good, of course. Georgia’s airports facilitate direct flights to 58 cities around the world, and we maintain regular flights to and from 31 countries. This is why we are now launching a study. We will invite leading global aviation consulting companies to engage in the process, and we will conduct a detailed study, and then will make a final decision. Tbilisi and the country deserve one of the best airports,” Garibashvili said.