|Founded||9 March 1944|
|Commenced operations||19 September 1944|
|Frequent-flyer program||SAK Bonus|
|Company slogan||Connecting Varkana and the World|
|Parent company||SAK Internationale|
|Key people||Iase Zautashvili, CEO|
|Revenue||₭7.257 billion (2018)|
|Profit||₭711.445 million (2018)|
SAK Varkana (Varkan: საქართველოს ავიაკომპანია, sakartvelos aviakompania; საკ) is the flag carrier airline of Varkana headquartered in Akhali Vale, Vale, Varkana, with its primary operational bases at Vale airport. It forms the largest part of the SAK Internationale family of airlines, and has SAK Echia, SAK Faencia, SAK Galastan, SAK Meleto, SAK Ostfosia and SAK Volisania as sister airlines.
SAK Varkana has consistently been named as Adonia's best low-cost carrier for 10 years in a row in international travel and airline awards, including the latest award for 2018.
The airline is fully-owned by SAK Internationale, which is a public company majority-owned by the Government of Varkana. SAK Internationale's stock is listed on the Varkan Stock Exchange. Before the Varkan revolution, several governments considered to privatize the company, but the 2001 transformation into a low-cost carrier was seen as a better alternative for Varkan travelers.
SAK Varkana follows a model of cost-cutting measures such as not selling connecting flights or providing complimentary snacks on board. The key points of this business model are high aircraft utilization, quick turnaround times, charging for extras (such as priority boarding, hold baggage and food) and keeping operating costs low. SAK Varkana flies mainly to the primary airports in the cities that it serves, for the convenience of passengers. SAK Varkana also focuses on attracting business passengers by offering convenient services such as the "Flexi fare" which allows free of charge changes to the flight within a window, speedy boarding and a checked in bag.
Originally, SAK Varkana did not allocate seats – passengers took any available seats, with the option to pay for "Speedy Boarding" and be first onto the aircraft. However, since 2010, all passengers are allocated numbered seats before boarding commences, as it was found that this does not slow down boarding times and could earn more revenue than Speedy Boarding. Passengers can pay an additional fee for certain seats such as the front few rows and over-wing seats (which have extra legroom).
The company revealed a new livery in December 2005. Major changes include a restyled and larger lettering on the body, repainting of the engines in white, and a reversal of the color scheme for the tail fin favoring a red background with a black and white stylized logo.
Uniform of SAK Varkana flight attendants
SAK Varkana's current uniform was designed by NAME and launched in December 2005. SAK Varkana has codes to indicate the rank of crew member: one stripe in the sleeve for normal cabin attendant, two stripes for senior cabin crew (only for outsourced crew), three stripes a purser. It is the first airline uniform to be neutral-gendered, with the company providing the same clothing to all genders.
The key trends for SAK Internationale (SAK Varkana represents roughly 60% of its parent company) over recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):
|Number of employees (FTE)||18,901||20,214||20,186||21,836||22,687||23,525||24,551||25,392||26,683||28,356||29,580||32,085|
|Number of passengers (m)||58.3||64.1||71.2||76.3||82.2||92.6||100.0||111.2||121.8||130.8||136.7||148.2|
|Passenger load factor (%)||81.6||82.7||82.4||83.7||84.2||85.4||86.8||87.7||88.0||90.7||91.2||91.3|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||348||388||425||478||566||594||659||787|
SAK Varkana flies to 10 domestic destinations and 143 international destinations across two continents in 73 countries.
|Rank||Airport||Number of Destinations|
|1||Klow-Zestafoni (Vale, Varkana)||129|
|4||Senaki (Amos, Varkana)||57|
|1||Klow-Zestafoni (Vale, Varkana)||450|
|3||Senaki (Amos, Varkana)||130|
|Airport||Passengers carried||Market share (%)|
SAK Varkana has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
- Fliege Breisland
- SAK Echia
- SAK Faencia
- SAK Galastan
- SAK Meleto
- SAK Ostfosia
- SAK Volisania
|Aero 146E||—||150||—||116||116||Launch customer. Replacing EmAe 190. Deliveries through 2022.|
|Aikok A319-100||110||—||—||156||156||Older aircraft are to be phased out and replaced by A321neo|
|Aikok A320-200||135||—||—||186||186||Older aircraft are to be phased out and replaced by A320neo|
|Aikok A320neo||—||150||—||186||186||Deliveries from 2019 to 2025.|
|Aikok A321neoLR||3||147||12||187||199||Launch customer. Deliveries from 2018 to 2025.|
|EmAe 190||146||—||—||108||108||Launch customer and largest operator. To be replaced by Aero 146E.|
In the 20th century, booking was done by telephone and at selected urban offices throughout the nation since 1944. In 2001, SAK started a website for direct bookings, putting a different telephone reservations number on the website, to track success. Once the company's executive saw the positive results, they developed an e-commerce website capable of offering real-time online booking from Summer 2001.
In January 2003, SAK switched from a third-party reservation system to an in-house system. Internet bookings were priced cheaper than booking over the phone, to reflect the reduced call center costs. Within a year over 50% of bookings were made using the web site; by April 2005 the figure had jumped to 99%. Now, flights can be booked either via the Internet or Varkana's Intranet within 3 months of the flight. Booking by phone has been discontinued in 2006.
Cabin and onboard services
SAK Varkana's aircraft cabins are configured in a single economy class, high density layout. The airline's fleet, comprising Aikok A319, Aikok A320 and EmAe E190 aircraft, carry up to 156, 186 and 108 passengers respectively.
SAK Varkana does not provide complimentary meals or beverages on board its flights. Passengers may purchase items on board from the "SAK Bistro" buy on board program. Products include sandwiches, pastries, snacks, hot drinks, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. SAK also sells gifts such as blankets, toilet products, and books on board, as well as tickets for airport transfer services or train tickets. The SAK magazine called "სამგზავრო" or "samgzavro" is published monthly and as other airline magazines, is free to go, and is only available in Varkan.
SAK provides no in-flight entertainment (IFE) in any of its aircraft. SAK has headphones available to purchase, along with a travel pillow and eyeshades, subject to stock. SAK provides an in-flight magazine, published monthly, containing articles of interest to its customers and destination guides.