ASTANA – On June 2, Air Astana will perform its maiden flight to Georgia on the Astana-Tbilisi-Astana route, one of several flights the airline is adding to its summer schedule. The flights to Tbilisi will be made on Brazilian Embraer-190 aircraft twice a week, on Tuesdays and Sundays.
“We are confident that this air route will be a big success, as it will contribute to the development of tourism potential and recognition of our countries,” Zurab Pataradze, Georgia’s ambassador to Kazakhstan, said, as quoted by the Kazinform news agency on March 30.
The diplomat cited the increased flow of Kazakh tourists in Georgia as a reason for launching the new flight. It is worth noting that the Caucasian nation’s tourist authority is holding an active advertising campaign in Kazakhstan, with billboards along the main streets of Astana inviting passersby to check out Georgia’s Black Sea beaches and enjoy its fresh mountain air while tasting its famous wine and cuisine.
According to the Embassy of Georgia, Kazakhstan is at the forefront in the implementation of direct investment and the development of tourism between the two countries. According to statistics from the National Tourism Agency of Georgia, the flow of visitors from Kazakhstan to Georgia grew 40 percent from 2012 to 2013, and another 38 percent in 2014. Following legislative changes in 2014, citizens of countries with which Georgia has established a visa-free regime (the EU, the member states of NATO and the CIS) have been allowed to stay in Georgia without a visa for 90 days within a period of 180 days, which corresponds to international practice. (To stay for longer than 90 days, Kazakh citizens will need to get emigration visas.)
Direct flights to Tbilisi have been performed three times a week from Aktau and five times a week from Almaty. Due to the increasing demand on the Almaty-Tbilisi connection, Air Astana replaced its Embraer 190 with a new Airbus on that route.
Air Astana also seeks to take full benefit of the forthcoming summer by exploiting the potential of other directions popular with tourists.
With the continuing growth in motion of business people, students and vacationers between Kazakhstan and China, the company decided to increase the frequency of flights from Astana to Beijing to three times a week, adding a Monday flight to the regular Wednesday and Saturday schedule. The flights, operated on A-320 aircraft, will start on June 1.
From June 25, peak sunbathing season, Air Astana will also increase the frequency of flights between Astana and Antalya, a popular Turkish Mediterranean resort annually stormed by tens of thousands of Kazakhs. Flights on A-320 aircraft will begin to also depart on Thursdays in addition to Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.