Future of Zvartnots Airport Uncertain

Zvartnots Aiport in Armenia. (Source: 1tv.am)
Zvartnots Aiport in Armenia. (Source: 1tv.am)

Zvartnots Aiport in Armenia. (Source: 1tv.am)

YEREVAN (Arka) — The Yerevan municipality has provided an explanation about the old building of Zvartnots Airport. The fate of the airport currently is up to debate with various sides proposing different suggestions for the building.

On January 13, Anahit Tarkhanyan, the heir of the architect who enjoys intellectual property rights, made a statement expressing intention to appeal to law enforcement agencies of Armenia and Argentina to protect the building from various encroachments.

In April 2013, Armenia-International Airports, the concession operator of Zvartnots Airport, asked the Yerevan municipality to authorize demolition of the old building.

The company referred to experts saying the building is physically dilapidated and its reconstruction would cost $15 to 20 million.

The Union of Architects of Armenia (Tarkhanyan is a member of the union’s board) reacted to the problem by expressing intention to ask the culture ministry to include the old building in the list of the government-protected historical and cultural constructions.

Tigran Barseghyan, the chief architect of Yerevan, said earlier that on December 24 the company got permission for reconstruction of the old building.

In accordance with the municipality’s decision, the company is allowed to demolish the airport’s dilapidated overpass because it is seismic vulnerability.

Today, the matter was discussed at a session presided by Public Council Chairman Vazgen Manukyan.

According to the session, the concession operator had submitted a new airport reconstruction project, which implies a partial demolition of the old building.

Participants of the session voiced their concern over the matter saying that not all ways for preserving the old building have been considered.

Manukyan called for an extensive discussion with participation of all the concerned parties to find solution that would appease both sides.

On November 11, 2013, the Public Council affiliated to the Armenian president declined the company’s proposal to demolish the building and asked the government to protect it as one of the cultural value and symbols of Yerevan.

On October 15, 2015, the Third Forum of Architects, supported by the ministries of Diaspora and urban planning, urged the Armenian authorities to recognize the building’s value and preserve it for future generations.

On December 26, 2013, Armenia’s government upheld a master plan submitted by the Armenia – International Airports, the concession operator of Zvartnots Airport, for 2013-2017. The plan implied investment of $102 million in improvement of the airport and construction of a new building.

Architects say that the old building of the airport is an important monument of the 20th century not only in Armenia, but also in the entire post-Soviet space.

In 2001, the Armenian government handed Zvartnots Arrport over to the Armenia – International Airports, which belongs to the New York Holding Company owned by Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentine entrepreneur of Armenian descent, for a 30-year concession management.

In 2011, a new up-to-international-standards terminal was opened in the airport.

The old building was commissioned in 1980.

 

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