Works to re-launch Kapan airport expected to be completed in June 2018 – Syunik Governor
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS. The works to re-launch the Kapan airport are scheduled to be completed in June 2018. The Czech L-410 aircraft is already purchased which will be delivered to Armenia in March, Governor of Syunik province Vahe Hakobyan said in an interview to ARMENPRESS, presenting the activities for 2018.
-Mr. Hakobyan, how can you describe 2017 for Syunik province in general? What key achievements will you identify?
-You know, it’s always difficult to give an objective assessment to your work and that of your team, and perhaps, it will be right to avoid self-assessment, but just to mention facts giving the right to assess to the public. Firstly, I would like to highlight the establishment of the Syunik development and investment fund thanks to which projects aimed at developing the province at several directions were implemented. Among them the most significant is, of course, the re-launch of the Kapan airport which, I am sure, will boost the socio-economic development of the province. The next important program implemented in the province was the establishment of Italian pizza production which today operates and has plans to export the product to Iran and Russia. A specialized brand store opened in the center of the province. It is the first of its kind in the Republic. The construction of cinema in accordance with international standards launched in 2017, and the works will end soon, and I want to state that it will start operating in the coming days. In late 2017 we also managed to reach an agreement with our Italian partners over a new project which will create nearly 500 jobs in the province. The talk is about a new knitted fabric. In fact, it’s difficult to mention the whole works within one question, but I mentioned the most important projects we implemented in 2017.
-The office of Aras Free Trade Zone, Meghri Free Economic Zone opened in Syunik in late 2017. What developments can be expected from these major initiatives in 2018? In this context what economic development prospects are there for the Syunik province?
-The creation of the Meghri FEZ is important in a sense that, being located on the border with Iran, it will give additional impetus for boosting the commercial relations between our countries, attracting companies with Iranian capital and will strengthen the existing close cooperation.
The Free Economic Zone will have a great sectoral involvement, including agriculture, processing industry, trade, transportations, tourism and other fields.
As you stated, in December 2017 the office of Aras Free Trade Zone opened in Kapan which started actively operating and thanks to the works carried out by this Office, the Julfa-Kapan bus route will launch in the near future. This will contribute to tourism development between Syunik province and Iran, as well as will create a good opportunity for boosting trade turnover. In 2018 we have planned to establish a close cooperation with Iran in the sphere of agriculture. I also want to state that at the moment talks are being held on exporting canned food and honey from Armenia to Iran.
-Mr. Hakobyan, by the end of first half of 2017 the renovation works of Kapan’s airport launched. What are the expectations for 2018 in this regard? Are there any clarifications regarding the frequency of flights and ticket prices?
-The works aimed at re-launching the airport are expected to be completed in June 2018. We are more than convinced that in addition to everything the existence of the airport will boost the ongoing investments in the province as the investor will be able to visit Kapan easily and quickly, just in 35 minutes. As we earlier informed the Czech L-410 aircraft is already purchased and will be delivered to Armenia in March. The flight frequency will, of course, depend on the demand, therefore, at the moment I cannot say for sure regarding the flight frequency. As for the air ticket price, I want to mention that it was repeatedly stated that this is not a business project and it cannot be so. This means that the cost of the flight will be very close to the self-cost, and in some cases, the ticket price will be subsidized thanks to the initiative of the Syunik development and investment fund (the talk concerns subsidizing tickets for citizens who need to quickly depart for Yerevan for health and other urgent reasons).
-Are other investment programs outlined for the province this year which will lead to creation of jobs?
-Last year was really full of investment programs. Of course, we have a number of new programs which at the moment are at the active discussion stage. I assure you we will have many occasions to highlight the continuous development process of Syunik province.
Interview by Anna Gziryan
Full interview is available in Armenian.