Kutaisi International Airport (KUT) in Georgia has officially been opened after the completion of the renovation and expansion project.

To mark the occasion, an opening ceremony was held at the airport and was attended by Georgia Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava, along with the other officials and stakeholders.

As part of the project, the old and the new terminals have been combined into a single expanded terminal.

The airport operator United Airports of Georgia (UAG) stated that the capacity of the airport has increased to 2.5 million passengers a year.

UAG director Tamar Archuadze said: “Now the airport is six times larger than it was before. We are now able to serve 2.5 million passengers annually and 1,200 passengers at the same time. Passengers will enjoy improved services and improved infrastructure.

“They will be able to use self-check-in and baggage drop services [they will be able to enjoy] international food outlets.”

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Natia Turnava mentioned that the airlines operating at the airport before the pandemic have almost been restored.

Turnava said: “Before the pandemic, four airlines flew to 33 destinations from Kutaisi Airport, and this year, as of May, three airlines are already flying to 25 destinations and this process continues following the opening of the market and overcoming the pandemic.”

After the expansion project, the airport’s area has been increased from 4,800m² to 30,000m².

KUT also features a green roof and a terrace, along with seven gates.

The registration counters have been increased from ten to 18, out of which two function as baggage drop-off for those passengers who have registered online.

In the take-off area, the border checkpoints have been increased from six to 11 and on the take-off side from eight to 14.

The extension project was executed by Dutch company UNStudio, which finished the terminal building of KUT in 2013.

UNStudio carried out the expansion work in partnership with Georgian architect and designer of UAG Mariam Karkarashvili.

This large-scale expansion project commenced in 2017, with a total investment of around $35.09m (GEL110m).

The modernised airport is expected to employ nearly 1,200 people.