The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Natia Turnava, congratulated the representatives of the Georgian aviation sector on the professional day. December 7 is the International Civil Aviation Day. “I congratulate all the people employed in this sector on their professional day and wish them success in such important, difficult and responsible activities for the country and our citizens,” - Natia Turnava said in her address.
As the Minister stated, the aviation sector has suffered unprecedented damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the restrictions on regular air traffic were put on the agenda to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, leading to the sudden cancellation of thousands of flights. “At the same time, the aviation has become an area that has played one of the crucial roles in the effective management of the epidemic and from the very beginning has been actively involved in preventive measures in this regard. Georgia was one of the first countries to timely restrict regular air traffic to high-risk countries as part of the measures to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus. Simultaneously, a mechanism has been activated to inform health agencies about passengers arriving from these countries,” - the Minister said.
With the support of the Georgian government, about 40 special flights were carried out to repatriate Georgian citizens from around the world. Through these flights up to 6,000 Georgian citizens were brought to their homeland safely and in an organized manner. Numerous flights were also carried out to send Georgian students abroad.
According to the Minister, “most importantly, all necessary measures have been taken in airports and aircraft from the very beginning to ensure the health of passengers and staff. The Georgian Civil Aviation Agency, together with the Ministry of Health, has been actively working on the development of rules and recommendations regarding special training for the crew on the measures to be taken towards the passengers, their proper outfit, aircraft disinfection, etc. Airlines and airports have been adhering to these requirements and recommendations since the outbreak of the pandemic. The aeronautical service enterprise and other large and small airlines, which are important for the functioning of aviation, continue to provide services smoothly.
As Natia Turnava stated, the transportation of medical and humanitarian cargo became especially important during the pandemic. “The aviation sector has turned out to be ready to meet this challenge. Transportation of various raw materials, medical facilities and equipment for the preparation of PCR tests and face masks and the service of these cargoes are being carried out by air service timely and at a high level. It is noteworthy that in coordination with the Agency, the Georgian cargo airlines have been actively involved in this type of operation,” - the Minister stated.
“The aviation sector will need a lot of time and effort to return to the pre-pandemic mark, but in the footsteps of the improvement of the epidemiological situation, we hope that we will be able to gradually and carefully move to the usual process of operation. This is facilitated by the fact that the airlines continue to actively express their interest in resuming flights to Georgia. It is also important that despite the pandemic, large infrastructure projects have not been suspended at Kutaisi and Batumi Airports,” - Natia Turnava said.
“I would like to thank each agency, airline, aviation specialist, technical or administrative staff employed in this sector for their immense contribution made to the management of the epidemic. The result of your professionalism, hard and coordinated work is that even in the pandemic, the aviation remains the safest means of transportation,” - the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development declared.
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