Georgia's new Kutaisi airport courting low-cost carriers

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Georgia's government has earmarked the newly-revamped Kutaisi airport to increase passenger traffic to and from the country by serving low-cost carriers.

The airport came on stream following the construction of a 2.6km (1.62 miles) runway on which a Boeing 747F made a landing yesterday.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, President Mikhail Saakashvili said the airport should offer more appealing fees compared with those at Tbilisi and Batumi airports.

"We need competition to attract low-cost carriers and create jobs here," he says. "This will help make air travel affordable not only for 5% of our population."

Central European budget operator Wizz Air is to launch thrice weekly flights between Kiev and Kutaisi on 27 September.

Economic development minister Vera Kobalia says that services to Kutaisi from Frankfurt, Brussels, Tel Aviv and Moscow should start in 2013.