Who is Advancing and Who is Lagging Behind: The Top Airline Companies in Georgia

For many years, foreign aviation companies held a larger portion of the market but during the first half of 2018 a Georgian company became the biggest player on the Georgian market.

The Georgian aviation market is growing, as is the number of international travelers. In 2015, 33 aviation companies were operating in Georgia. Today, this figure has increased to 57. As of three years ago, 2.2 million passengers traveled via regular flights but in 2017 the numbers went up to 3.9 million. During the first nine months of 2018, airline companies had already served over 3.8 million passengers. For many years, foreign aviation companies held a larger portion of the market but during the first half of 2018 a Georgian company became the biggest player on the Georgian market.  Among the top five companies with the highest number of passengers using their services, Georgian Airways and Wizzair saw the biggest increase in customers over the past few years,. This is due to an increased frequency of flights. Since 2015, the airline company Ural had 9 times more passengers which accounted for 6% of the market.

In 2015, when 33 companies were operating on the Georgian market, the following companies had the largest share of the market:

• Turkish Airlines -  20% of the market

• Georgian Airways - 12% of the market

• Ukraine Airlines – 10% of the market

• Pegasus - 7% of the market

• Wizz Air - 5% of the market

According to the first nine months of 2018 the results are as follows:

• Turkish Airlines - 11% of the market

• Georgian Airways - 11% of the market

• WizzAir - 11% of the overall market

• Ural Airlines – 6% of the market

• Fly Dubai – 5% of the overall market

Despite the fact that the market’s most dominant player, Turkish Airlines, lost almost 10% of the share of the market, the number of the airline’s passengers has not decreased.

In 2015, a total of 435,000 passengers used Turkish Airlines to flights in and out of Georgia, compared to the first nine months of this year, where already 440,000 people have flown to and from Georgia via the airline.

Georgian airways has increased their flights and new destinations and in parallel has seen its number of passengers almost double.  In 2015, the airline had over 253,000, passengers; this figure had increased to 433,800 during the first nine months of this year.

Ukraine Airlines also saw an increase in their customers. Despite this, the airline lost its position in the top five. In 2015, 212,000 people flew with the airline and in 2017 this figure increased to 282,000. As for this year, the company had over 172,000 passengers and its share on the market was reduced from 12% to 4%.

Pegasus airline also lost its position in the ranking of the top five aviation companies. The airline accounted for 3% of the market share this year compared to 2015’s 7%. The company also saw a reduction in the number of customers: in 2015, 145,000 people travelled with the airline and in 2017 this figure had dropped to129,000 people.

WizzAir, on the other hand, saw a significant increase in both its share on the market and its number of passengers. In 2015, the airline served over 100,000 passengers and during the first nine months of this year,the figure was already over 425,000.

With regards to Ural Airlines and Flydubai, both of which are in the top five this year (based on the first nine months of 2018), the share of Ural on the market in 2015 was only 1% with a total of 17,000 passenger  and in 2017 the company served 9 times more passengers (over 155,000). Similarly, Flydubai’s number of passengers doubled. In the first nine months of 2018 the company had already served over 244,000 passengers, whereas in 2015 this figure stood at 90,000. Moreover, Aeroflot also increased the number of its passengers and its share on the market. In 2015, the company had 73,400 passengers, whereas in 2017 the number of customers had increased to 198,000.

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