Atlasjet begins service to Tbilisi International Airport
Friday, October 25Earlier this month, Turkish-based airline Atlasjet began flights between Tbilisi International Airport and Istanbul, challenging competitors with cheap prices. The question is whether the company is capable and willing to hold prices down in the long-term.
Atlasjet, the number one private Turkish-based company, decided to start flights from Tbilisi International Airport to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, one of the major transit airports for passengers flying to and from Georgia.
“We have been watching the Georgian market for about one year. Considering the growth of the market and prospective growth capacity, we decided that we should be in the Georgian market. We are a big tourism group and 12,000 beds under three different brand names.” President of Atlasjet Murat Ersoy said in an interview. One way tickets between Tbilisi and Istanbul are as low as 50 euros, and include free meals, online check in and a 30 kg baggage allowance for EconomiPlus passengers. Business Class one-way prices begin at 150 euros.
So far, Atlasjet has two flights a week between Tbilisi and Istanbul and will begin daily flights starting in November. In April 2014, four weekly flights between Antalya-Tbilisi are planned.
Atlasjet is the third Turkish-based company to enter the Georgian market, after Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. Prices on all Turkish Airlines and Pegasus are expected to drop with more competition. Travel agencies cite the relative high-cost of airline tickets to Georgia as one of the major barriers to tourist development. Some travel experts predict Atlasjet ticket prices will increase after three to six months. (BPI)