Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   30 March

Armenian aviation market to have new directions, to cooperate with new airlines in near future

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 27, ARMENPRESS. The passenger flow in Armenia’s “Zvartnots” international airport increased by 25% in January-February 2017, compared to the same period of 2016.

Sergey Avetisyan - Head of the General Department of Civil Aviation, gave in interview to “Armenpress” talking about the reasons of the increase, gains and losses of “Open Sky” policy, new directions to Armenia and other interesting news in the aviation market.

-Mr. Avetisyan, since the adoption of the “Open Sky” policy in 2013, significant works were done in international platforms aimed at presenting the new opportunities of the Armenian market and implementing the new policy. In the long run, what did this policy give to Armenia and don’t you think that having an Armenian air carrier is risky under the “Open Sky” policy?

-It is not risky: it is rather difficult since in any field in the conditions of open and liberal market, the businessmen appear in difficult competition. In this case if we talk about having a national airline, the local airline enters into a direct competition with large airlines such as “Qatar Airways”, “Air France”, “Aeroflot”. Currently we have an operating Armenian airline which found its place in the market to some extent. “Open Sky” policy provided us an increase in passenger flow, and in line with this the ticket prices are decreasing. We aim to increase incoming tourism flows, the geography by diversifying the market.

-Increase in both passenger flow and cargo transfers was registered in “Zvartnots” airport in 2016. What is the reason of this growth and do you already have predictions for 2017? What did the facilitation of visa regimes with certain countries provide?

-If there are no obstacles, we plan to have an increase in passenger flow. We already recorded a 25% growth as of January-February 2017. We hope the figure will be maintained. For spring-summer navigation period we plan to have growth in passenger flow, increase in geography. The facilitation of visa regimes is one of the ongoing steps, and I will identify the facilitation of the entry of India’s citizens to Armenia living in the Persian Gulf countries as an important step. The entry of Russian citizens to Armenia with internal passports is also an important step. This is a very good signal to boost incoming tourism. During the Iranian New Year we will have quite high passenger flow. We have already received a number of applications from various airlines, and I think that we will carry out more than 50 flights within these three weeks, by reaching the frequency of daily flights to 6-7.

-Do you have already outlined new directions and cooperation with airlines for this year?

-There is no final decision yet on new directions until the airlines will receive the approval from the airport. We are expecting new directions in near future, we expect entry of new airlines to the Armenian market and increase of frequency of flights of the already operating airlines.

-In 2016 the Russian “Pobeda” airlines started to carry out flights from Gyumri’s “Shirak” airport with quite low tariffs. Is the entry of other budgetary airlines expected in “Shirak” airport and in general, what is being done to make that airport attractive for airlines?

-The first step aimed at making Gyumri’s “Shirak” airport attractive for airlines was the removal of air tax for the passengers departing from the airport. Then, “Armenia International Airports” CJSC sharply decreased tariffs for services. The tariff of air navigation services also decreased by 50%, meteorological service fee was also removed. “Pobeda” airlines has an average of 95% load which is a very good figure.

As for the entry of new budgetary airlines to “Shirak” airport, I can say that this is not an issue to be solved within a week or a month. We are working with different airlines.

-When will Armenia join EU common aviation zone? In what stage are Armenia-EU Council talks on air communication agreement and what will the agreement provide?

-The first stage of official talks are expected to be launched in spring, 2017. Our partners from Brussels will arrive in Armenia, and I hope we will sign this important document directed towards development of Armenia’s civil aviation.

Interview by Ani Danielyan

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