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Thursday, April 21, 2011

$20 million to be invested in Kutaisi airport in Georgia - boost business and tourism development in the region

Georgia may sell the airport in Kutaisi, the former Soviet republic's second-largest city, for $1 as it tries to attract foreign investment and boost tourism.

"We're in talks on the airport with possible investors from Germany, India and elsewhere," Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Vera Kobalia said by telephone from the capital Tbilisi today. "One dollar is a symbolic price. We expect $20 million to be invested in the facility."

The government is considering all options for Kutaisi airport, including selling or turning it over to an operating company, Ketevan Aleksidze, director of Georgian United Airports, said by telephone. The plan may involve attracting low-cost airlines from Europe to Kutaisi.

Kopitnari Airport, located about 14 kilometers (9 miles) from Kutaisi, currently handles an average of 200 passengers per hour, according to the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry. It sits on 30.5 hectares of land and has 2,300 square meters of buildings.

Airports serving Tbilisi and the Black Sea port of Batumi are managed by Turkish operator TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS. (TAVHL)

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

GEORGIA ON MY MIND!