GRODNO, 26 January (BelTA) – Direct air service may be established between Grodno and Warsaw, BelTA learned from Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Anatoly Kalinin, who went to Grodno on 26 January to meet with a number of citizens and deal with their complaints in person.
A Grodno resident suggested establishing regular flights and noted it would be a good idea to develop the Grodno airport and bring in budget air carriers. It is particularly important because the city and its suburbs, including the airport, are now part of the visa-free zone where foreigners can stay without visas for up to ten days.
Anatoly Kalinin remarked that the infrastructure of the Grodno airport is quite up to date. The airport offers regular flights, including to Russia's Kaliningrad and to Bulgaria in summer. “Air carriers have been instructed to expand the geography of flights. Today's legislation allows welcoming any air carrier, including low-cost companies,” noted the official. Passenger numbers are often the key matter for the private sector, he noted. In 2016 the Grodno airport welcomed 5,000 passengers. In 2017 the figure reached 10,000. In particular, the possibility of organizing flights to Warsaw and Vilnius in the tourism season is under consideration.
Anatoly Kuprashevich, head of the Grodno branch of the Belarusian air traffic control company Belaeronavigatsia, was present during the meeting. He noted that negotiations were in progress with a Polish air carrier for the sake of organizing up to nine Grodno-Warsaw flights per week. Work is also in progress to allow the airport to welcome business jets from Slovakia and Germany. By the way, the first few visa-free tourists landed in the Grodno airport recently. They were Polish citizens, who arrived on board of a private aircraft. Anatoly Kalinin said he wanted Grodno Oblast to submit proposals on developing transportation by air to the central government by the end of February.
Anatoly Kalinin praised the abundance of places of interest in Grodno. “We are now talking about exploring the full tourism potential of its city and environs. It is important to pay attention not only to transport but services, efforts to beautify specimens of architecture and historic buildings. We want tourists to spend a lot of time in Grodno,” noted the deputy prime minister. He stressed that although Grodno is attractive for tourists, it is necessary to put more efforts into advertising the city and the country abroad. It is a matter for another dedicated discussion, he noted.
Shortly before the meeting Anatoly Kalinin examined construction work progress on the M6 Minsk-Grodno motorway, progress in the reconstruction of the Old Castle in the oblast capital. Anatoly Kalinin also held a government conference to discuss the performance of the Grodno Oblast civil engineering industry.More about Society