The FINANCIAL — Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Ukraine and Netherlands are the most visited destinations from Georgia, according to the airlines inquired by The FINANCIAL. Due to the economical downturn, passengers’ flow in most of the airline companies has decreased, but the airline company Lufthansa speaks about carrying more passengers in 2008 than in the previous year.
”Germany, France, Spain and Italy are especially popular among Georgian travelers. During the winter season, many Georgian customers went to the Alpine ski resorts in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In summer, trips to European cities are on high demand among leisure travelers who want to explore the historic sites and rich cultural life,” Sonja Ptassek, Corporate Communications of the company Lufthansa declares.
Nino Giorgobiani, PR Manager of the company Georgian Airways says that Georgians mostly visit Ukraine, Netherlands and Germany.
“Georgians’ favorite countries to visit are Italy, France, Germany, and Spain as a summer holiday destination. Georgian skiers like to ski in Austrian Alps during the winter season. Georgians’ preferable places for rest are Spain and Italy,” Tamriko Vardiashvili Sales Assistant of the Company Austrian Airline says.
Apart from recession, some of the companies have started offering special discounts to their customers. According to Austrian Airlines, the company often has special offers.
Lufthansa is now offering its special spring rates.
“Austrian Airlines often introduces seasonal action fares, thus supporting development of tourism and gives opportunity to the wider stratum of the Georgian population to travel,” Tamriko Vardiashvili declares.
“It’s now possible to travel at special Spring fare -EUR 279 to beautiful European destinations including Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bologna, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva,Hanover, Krakow, Leipzig, Linz, London, Milan, Moscow, Nice, Oslo, Podgorica, Prague, Rome, Salzburg, Sarajevo, Sofia, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Thessaloniki, Zagreb, Zurich, Varna, Venice,” Vardiashvili, says.
EUR 279 excluding the Airport charges.
Company Lufthansa offers some special fares for spring time starting at EUR 279, excluding taxes, for a return flight in Economy Class to 33 cities in Europe.
“Special offers are also available to North America which starts from EUR 350. Most likely, Lufthansa will also offer special fares for the summer period but details and fares are not available yet,” Sonja Ptassek, Corporate Communications of the company Lufthansa declares.
“Currently, we have some discounts. One way ticket to Kiev costs EUR 85. We also have discounts on Tel-Aviv trips and round trip ticket costs USD 299 instead of USD 500.This kind of discounts will last until the end of March,” Nino Giorgobiani PR Manager of Georgian Airways, told the FINANCIAL.
”Round trip direct flight tickets to Austria cost EUR 330, to France EUR 385 and to Germany EUR 330,” Nino Giorgobiani says.
From U.S. to Europe fares are down by 22 percent for year, according to the travel web site Farecast.com. Eye-popping prices have included USD 400 round-trip tickets from New York City to Rome and USD 500 for Chicago to Paris.
Lufthansa declares that the rate for an airline ticket depends basically on the city and country of departure as well as on the date of travel.
“Fares for Georgian customers start from as little as EUR 279, for major European cities as well as from EUR 350, for attractive destinations in North America. The regular fare for a return flight in the Economy Class to Europe starts at EUR 369. The price depends on the respective destination and the demand on the route at the selected date of travel,” Sonja Ptassek states.
“Special fares for a return flight to Georgia in Economy Class are available from EUR 250, – from Munich, for example,” Ptassek says.
“It’s more than 10 years since Austrian Airlines appeared on the Georgian market. Company has been offering reasonable airfares to more than 130 destinations worldwide. Airfares to popular European destinations start from EUR 381; to New York – from EUR 483; (The fares are exclusive of airport taxes.),” Tamriko Vardiashvili notes.
Vardiashvili notes that the airfare to European destinations starts from EUR 372, for one way, and for round trip tickets from EUR 381, excluding airport taxes.
“Price of the ticket to Turkey- Ankara one way is from EUR 372, round trip ticket starts from EUR 493 excluding airport taxes,” Vardiashvili declares.
Austrian offers additional services to its customers. “Austrian cares for its passengers even after the flight has ended”, says Vardiashvili. “Do not throw away your Austrian boarding pass, as you can use it in different museums and different outlets to get free or discounted service within 10 days after flying,” Vardiashvili notes.
During the economic downturn, in some of the airline companies the passengers flow decreased significantly. Nino Giorgobiani notes that the total number of passengers has declined, but it’s a bit early to speak about the numbers in accordance with the last year.
“Financial crisis and mostly August events in Georgia has notably affected our plural activities. The passengers’ flow has decreased for about 50 % .The number of trips has also fallen. We have cancelled flights to Vienna. We aren’t able to fly to Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Forecasts for the year 2009 aren’t quite alluring, mostly in terms of massive unemployment,” Nino Giorgobiani says.
“Lufthansa carried more passengers in 2008 than in the previous year. Twelve months from January through December, a total of about 57 million passengers took flights with Lufthansa, an increase of 1.2 percent on the year-earlier level,” Sonja Ptassek declares.
“In general, and due to the global economic crisis, all airlines notice a drop off
in passenger numbers. However, due to its dedication and reliability in the market, Lufthansa has seen a stable demand for flights from and to Georgia over the recent months. In January and February 2009, Lufthansa transported more than 7, 5 million passengers in total (3, 76 million In January and 3, 78 in February),” Ptassek claims.
“In 2008, the Lufthansa Group recorded an operating result of EUR 1.35 billion, which corresponds to EUR 24 million less in comparison with the record figure in 2007. Despite the slight decline, this is an outstanding result and the second best results in the company’s history. Lufthansa was able to display a notable and stable performance at a very high level in terms of very difficult economical situation,” Sonja Ptassek says.
According to the Lufthansa officials, the demand for Lufthansa flights is very good in Georgia due to the high and reliable quality service offered. With the current spring time special offers, Georgian customers have even better reason to enjoy the service and comfortably travel to Europe or beyond.
Written By Tako Khelaia