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Re-certification and changes for air companies

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, October 2
Due to the re-certification of 11 Georgian air companies, no new air companies will be able to register until the May 1. Some say that the restrictions might affect both Georgian and foreign investors.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the recertification process may go faster and the restrictions may be annulled before the end of the year.

They have spread a special statement that reads that in accordance with the United Open Skies Agreement, which is part of the Association Agreement with the EU, a range of changes is being carried out in the Georgian aviation legislation to introduce European standards in this regard.

The statement reads that the recertification process requires time and is important for safe flights. They claim that the process will be undertaken on the basis of established practice and demands of the respective documents of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) through considering the recommendations of the ICAO experts. There are 11 companies which face the recertification that will be carried out by the Civil Aviation Agency.

The heads of various air companies have different views with regard to the changes. Head of Caucasus Airlines Giorgi Kodua thinks that the recertification points at the lack of professionalism of the certificatory body, referring to the Civil Aviation Agency.

Head of Airzena Tamaz Gaiashvili has a different position. According to him, the recertification was necessary.

“Incorrectly granted certifications were the main reason why ICAO blacklisted Georgia’s National Aviation in 2013. The recertification might make the situation more positive,” stressed Gaiashvili.

Expert of economy Levan Kalandadze thinks that the decision causes suspicions concerning the business interests of some groups.

“The solution restricts competition on the market,” He says.

Executive Director of Transparency International Georgia Eka Gigauri estimated the situation comparing it to the raising of an iron curtain.

“It may be aggravating now, but most changes implemented lately are creating suspicions as if the government is trying to obstruct foreigners from coming to Georgia and its residents from leaving the country,” stated Gigauri.