|Airzena Georgian Airways: media tour in Saint Petersburg|
|June 28, 2008|
June 28, 2008
On June 12, Airzena Georgian Airways began operating its new Tbilisi to St Petersburg flights.
To promote the new route, the company organized a flight for journalists, which took place on June 19. 3 hours and 15 minutes after taking off from Tbilisi International Airport, the plane arrived at Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg.
According to Nino Giorgobiani, PR manager of Airzena, this route will be available every Monday and Thursday. A one way ticket costs 200 EUR and a round trip costs 360 EUR. “The fact that there is a new route is of course pleasant especially because it is between Georgia and Russia. Such routes may help improve the condition of the relationship between the two countries,” said Giorgobiani.
Zurab Samsonia, a representative of Airzena Georgian Airways in Russia, said that there was a huge demand for this route from both the residents of Russia and Georgia.
Airzena’s representative in St Petersburg, Alexander Zaldastanashvili, said that the company had this route before but that it had not been operating for the last five years. Now, after a 5 year pause, the route is open again.
“On this second route 50% of the tickets were sold. This is quite a good result and we consider that there will be the need to add a third day to this route. But for now, it is only on Monday and Thursday”, said Zaldastanashvili. According to him this route is very important because in the past people had to fly through an airport in another country before reaching St. Petersburg. Now it is possible to travel directly from Tbilisi to St. Petersburg.
The passengers of the airplane were a bit surprised because of the many cameras, microphones, dictaphones and journalists boarding the plane. Four month-old passenger, Sandra Kakulia watched the cameras as she watched the clouds from the window of the airplane with her large black eyes. She was the youngest passenger of the airplane and this was her first flight to St. Petersburg to visit her grandparents there. Her mother is a Georgian from St. Petersburg and met Sandra’s father in Tbilisi. Now the young family lives in Georgia but Sandra’s grandparents are still in St. Petersburg. “This will be a surprise for my father, he has no idea that I’m going there with my daughter. I decided to take her only because this was the direct route from Tbilisi to St. Petersburg, and we didn’t have to change airplanes, so she wouldn’t be bothered with several flights”, said Eka Kakulia, Sandra’s mother.
The weather was excellent and the flight was smooth. As the head of the aircraft’s crew in Airzena’s route to St. Petersburg, David Gvenetadze said that because of the excellent weather, the air lines were normal. He added that it is good that this route is operational. He expressed skepticism, however, that the route would positively influence the Georgian-Russian relationship.
Flight attendant Irina Fomina said that this flight was special for her because there were many guests from the media, however, she mentioned that no matter which route or flight it is, they serve all passengers with the same conscientious attention. “During our flight, if it is more that 3 hours, we serve a main course menu, which includes hot dishes and drinks, for passengers in business class. We also serve alcoholic beverages.”
Fomina explained that this flight was pleasant for her because there were no passengers who were afraid of flying. “Sometimes it is really hard to calm down someone when they have a phobia of flying. In such cases, I spend all my time with those passengers,” she said. 23 year old, Irina Fomina graduated from the Institute of Aviation. She has worked as an attendant in Airzena for two years.
On June 20, at 01:30 the Airzena Georgian Airways Boeing had already returned to Tbilisi Airport from St. Petersburg. “This year we have done 2,135 flights, which is already 705 more than last year, and we are still only half way through the year,” said Tamaz Andguladze, deputy director of Tbilisi Airport.
According to Andguladze, Airzena Georgian Airways has 694 flights, twice as many as they had last year when they had 394. Around 30% of the routes coming from Tbilisi Airport are hosted by Airzena Georgian Airways, explained Andguladze. This is Airzena Georgian Airway’s third route to Russia. Before this, passengers could only fly Tbilisi-Moscow and Tbilisi-Batumi-Moscow.
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