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Chairman of the Union of Georgian Aviation Professionals Says the Local Market Faces Serious Problems

Published: November 1, 2012 | 3:38 pm
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Giorgi Kodua: We’ll be the watchdog, observing Georgia’s aviation sector development.”

The COMMERCIAL TIMES

Increased frequency of flights, improved infrastructure, however, along with progressive steps made during the last few years, Georgia’s civil aviation has suffered a serious downturn, according to the field specialists. The main issue, as they explain, is that the majority of airways and operators in the local market are foreign companies. A number of Georgian air companies were thrown off the market as they were unable to overcome the barriers that were set against them artificially. The benefit drawn from increased frequency of flights is merely an outflow from the country and is not spent in developing Georgian aviation.

The above-mentioned issues were discussed during the November 1 press-conference led by Giorgi Kodua, the Chairman of the Union of Georgian Aviation Professionals (UGAP). Kodua, the President of currently not-operating air company Sky Georgia, stated that the union supports open sky policy, but also noted that the new government should be more actively engaged in solving the problems in Georgia’s aviation sector: “The new government claims they support professional approach, however, in order to prevent mistakes in the local aviation field, we’ve launched this union. We’ll be the watchdog, observing Georgia’s aviation sector development. Our field specialists are ready to discuss concrete issues with the government.”

“There’s no use in launching an air company in Georgia today. The main goal of UGAP is to help the local aviation sector get free from various artificial and legislative barriers. It’s important to hire qualified personnel and get involved in active dialogue with the field specialists,” declared Kodua. “I’ve been talking about the problems in the local aviation for a long time, but my statements were mostly heard as a personal, subjective complaint of a Georgian air company representative. The ignorance, in the end, has influenced negatively on the sector performance in general.”

UGAP- a non-governmental union was created by the initiative of Georgian Civil Aviation Professionals several days before the press-conference. The main task for the union is to assist the local aviation sector development and in order to accomplish it UGAP plans to prepare an analysis based on the problems existing in the local market, work out relative recommendations considering international experience and work in close touch with the government on legislative issues. UGAP is an independent organization, financed by membership fees. The organization will also get grants.

UGAP is the very first organization of this type launched in Georgia. Till now, companies had to settle issues with government bodies on their own. Kodua’s Sky Georgia, has itself been the victim of the unhealthy local aviation system: “I, as an air company president, could not manage to run a successful business because no matter how much I tried the system drew me back and this has to be improved. Operating an air company in Georgia must become an attractive business,” noted Kodua.

“Gathering the field specialists together has been a challenge. It’s important to stand together to improve the system, the priority of which is an air company, the operation of which is reflected in a chain reaction of an airport and the local aviation sector in general.”

Albert Nurbekian, the President of Georgian Pilots Association also shared the complaints mentioned by UGAP chairman. “Almost 90% of the local aviation market is sold. My experience in Georgia’s aviation sector counts 25 years, my soul is here in the local aviation and my goal is to defend it. We all must forget old offences and come together. Georgia has a very important geopolitical location, but no local aviation. The sector here is occupied by foreigners. Unity is the only solution to the problem.”

 

 

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