TBILISI, DFWatch–Around 400 Georgian passengers are currently stuck in Antalya, Turkey, as the airline Airzena refuses to carry out a flight because a tour company didn’t pay for the tickets.
For more than a day, passengers have been waiting to return to Georgia. The tour operator All Tour should have paid for the tickets for all 118 passengers, which is why Airzena didn’t carry out the flight.
The Georgian tourists were placed in a hotel for one night by courtesy of Antalya airport, but they were sent out from the hotel the next day.
Intepressnews quotes Iase Zautashvli, director of Airzena, saying that the passengers will be returned to Georgia step by step. He said that the company cannot provide return flights for the passengers by its own means because they do not have enough financing.
“The company never paid for the fight. We understand the situation of these people, we know that there are kids and they are in a difficult condition, but we cannot schedule the flight because it needs to be reimbursed.”
The first group of passengers will return Friday night, he said. A second flight will be carried out on Saturday, and the third one on Tuesday. The government is paying for the return flights, he added.
The news website Moambe spoke with one of the passengers, Tamta Mchedlishvili, who said that they learned only half an hour before the flight that the plane which was meant to take them back to Tbilisi never left the capital and their calls to the tour operator went unanswered.
After a day of silence, All Tour commented for the media on Friday evening, saying that the reason for the situation was ‘the inflation in Turkey and the global economic crisis.’
Maya Mchedlidze, spokesperson for All Tour, said that two of the Turkish partner companies went into bankruptcy and this put their agency in a difficult situation. But she didn’t name which companies she meant.