regional start-up carrier Silk Route Airways is expecting to launch
international scheduled operations within weeks after starting trial flights
from Tbilisi to the Azerbaijan capital Baku using the first of two
newly-acquired Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops.
Route Airways also has the rights to operate from Tbilisi to the Armenian
capital Yerevan, and is to commence test-flights on the route early next week.
carrier – which is leasing Brasilias formerly operated by Dutch airline KLM
Exel – is to take delivery of the second aircraft on 15 January and foresees
that it will conduct a series of charter flights before starting scheduled
operations in early February.
addition to Baku and Yerevan the new airline is to serve domestic routes to
Batumi and Poti.
Route Airways is being led by managing director Bob Christian, who founded
Northwest Airlink partner airline Pacific Island Aviation (PIA) in 1988 – the
carrier operates three Shorts 360 turboprops on services between Guam, Rota,
Tinian and Saipan.
tells ATI that, in addition to management expertise contributions
obtained through his PIA links, he has received financial support from Lockheed
Martin; the US firm is currently developing a 15-year masterplan to improve the
Georgian air transport and airport infrastructure in partnership with the
Route Airways is 60% owned by Georgian interests, the remainder being held by
foreign parties. The carrier is backed by a group of five partners which
includes a Georgian company and private individuals.