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    • Tuesday , 13:02 pm Repair to Cause Daytime Closure of Tbilisi Airport’s Only Runway

      <div><br /> </div> <div><br /> </div> <div><br /> </div> <div>Reconstruction of <a href="http://www.tbilisiairport.com/en-EN/Pages/Main.aspx">Tbilisi international airport</a>’s only runway will require rescheduling of daytime flights to night-time in a period between March and June, airport’s operator, TAV Georgia, said on February 8.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>Runway will be closed from 9:30am to 3pm between March 1 and March 26 and from 10am to 8pm between March 27 and July 1, 2016.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>TAV Georgia, a local subsidiary of Turkish TAV Airports Holding, said that flights falling in this timeframe will "not be canceled, but rescheduled”.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>"The work on the project has been ongoing for almost two years already and all the procedures and details have been pre-planned. Rescheduling maximally takes into consideration interests of every air carrier” operating flights in the Tbilisi airport, the operator company said.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>Some flights to and from Istanbul, which are among the busiest routes from the Tbilisi airport, will also be affected. </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Tbilisi international airport, which has the capacity of 2.8 million passengers a year, handled 1.84 million passengers in 2015, a 17.2% increase from 1.57 million in 2014; the figure has more than doubled over the past five years.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>The Tbilisi airport is run by a local subsidiary of the Turkish TAV Airports Holding on build-operate-transfer basis since October, 2005. The company also operates airport in Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>In August, 2012 the Georgian government signed a deal with TAV under which the operator was planning to invest USD 65 million in construction of a second runway in Tbilisi airport.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>In exchange TAV received extension of its right to operate the airport from original 2027 to late 2037.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>But after the GD coalition came into power, the government suspended that deal in January 2013 and renegotiated terms with TAV based on which a new deal was signed in May, 2015, according to which the operator company has to reconstruct the existing runway and taxiways, but it won’t get extension of its original contract, which will remain in force till 2027. The company also has to upgrade gradually the airport infrastructure till 2027.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who at the time was Economy Minister and who is now the PM, was saying that the new deal was a win-win for both the state and the investor, stressing that it was also addressing some of the shortcomings that was in the initial contract, also setting lower pace of increase in airport charges. </div> <div><br /> </div> <div>Opposition UNM party has accused the government, and specifically Kvirikashvili, of mishandling deal on airport runway reconstruction, which, UNM MP Giorgi Kandelaki said on February 8, will result into decline of international arrivals, affecting negatively on country’s already ailing economy.</div>