Arrival Guide To Tbilisi International Airport

If you are coming to Georgia for travel or business, chances are that you will arrive at Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport, biggest international airport of Georgia with easy connection to major European and Asian

cities.

Tbilisi has historically an important hub.  In soviet times it was 12th largest airport connecting to several east European cities.  In recent times, tourist influx specially after Georgia’s west ward looking policies, has grown significantly.  The passenger volume is practically growing at 20% on annual basis.  The government built a modern airport in 2007 capable of handing over 3 million passengers yearly.

How To Reach Tbilisi By Air?

Georgian Airways, the privately owned flag carrier has scheduled connections to 20 destinations located mostly in Russia and CIS countries.  In addition, several budget airlines from Europe offer connection to western Europe, UAE and Turkey.  A quick google flight search offers 30 days apex fare roundtrip fares to these destinations for $100 to $150 making it travel to Georgia very affordable.

Connection to Asia specially south east Asia is still expensive.  Travelers from South East Asia should try to reach Dubai where Flydubai has regular flights everyday to Tbilisi International Airport.

Visa and Custom’s Formalities

While connection to Tbilisi is somewhat limited, Georgia offers one of the most hassle free visa regime.  Holder of over 100 countries can enter live and work for one year in Georgia visa free while most of other countries can travel for 30/90 days out of 180 days on the basis of online e-visa.  The immigration service at airport is simple with a wait period rarely exceeding 15 minutes.

Custom’s checks are random and rare.  There is green channel corridor.  Passengers are allowed to bring 400 cigarettes, 4 liters of alcohol and personal effects and gifts in reasonable quantity.  Passengers are also allowed to bring currency equivalent of GEL 30000 (about Euro 1000) in cash without any declaration.  More information can be found in official website of the Georgian governement http://www.rs.ge/en/4810

Transfer To Tbilisi City

Taxi is most convenient and quickest way to reach city.  Most taxi drivers will offer a fixed rate of GEL 35 for going to city.  It is advisable to negotiate price in advance as some may not have fare meter.  Taxify and Yandex.taxi are popular app based taxi service which offers transparent pricing and cashless payment.

There is bus number 37 that offers slow but inexpensive ride to city center.

Currency Exchange

There are currency exchange at arrival hall along with several ATM dispensing Lari against international cards.  The rates at airport are slightly higher than city.  Credit cards are widely accepted in Tbilisi.  US dollars and Euro are accepted for payment in most touristic areas.  Exchange shops in old Tbilisi offers slightly better exchange rates.  

Mobile & Internet

There are three mobile phone operators in Tbilisi namely Geocell, Magti and Beeline.  They all offer 15 days tourist SIM card.  It is possible to get SIM card with longer validity after registering with passport at any service center in the city.  Both calls and internet fees are very reasonable in Georgia.

To get lowest prices, you need to apply for monthly offers. You can see all offers online:

Geocell

https://www.magticom.ge/en/private/mobile/packages/bundles

http://beeline.ge/en-us/tbilisi/customers/mobile/tariffs/index/localcalls/

Left Luggage

The arrival hall has 24 hour left luggage facility offered at 10 Lari for small luggage and 20 for large luggage. However, if you plan to stay in the city, many hotels will be happy to store your luggage for free or small charge specially if you are coming back to them after few days.

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