A new regional airport opened on 14 January in Racha, north west Georgia, with the first plane setting down there on Saturday.
The airport was constructed in Racha’s municipal centre, Ambrolauri. The airport will initially serve only small planes, designed for 15–20 people. The terminal can handle a maximum of 50 passengers at a time.
Ketevan Aleksidze, Director of the Union of Georgian Airports, told journalists that the project cost ₾12 million ($4.4 million) and was financed from the country’s central budget.
Initially, flights will only be scheduled between Racha and Natakhtari, about 30 km from the capital, with tickets priced at ₾50 ($18).
According to Aleksidze, flights will be scheduled for twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday with a possibility of more routes opening up in future.
The project was taken under the initiative of Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili who was among the first passengers on the initial flight. He told journalists in Racha that the government plans to continue support similar projects, and that in future Racha Airport will be able to host larger planes and to expand the terminal if there is demand for it.
The Prime Minister was confident that the airport project will contribute to the development of tourism, while also helping to employ local people.
The new airport terminal has an area of 600 sq metres, with a 1,100 metre runway.
Last year, a regional airport opened in Telavi, a town in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti Region. Planes fly from Telavi to Mestia, Zugdidi, Poti, Batumi, Kutaisi, and Natakhtari. But only small, private planes are available, carrying either two or six passengers.