YEREVAN(Arka) — The recently-established Armenia airline will make its first flights to Israel and Russia on April 21, the company’s president Tamaz Gaiashvili told a news conference today in Yerevan.
He said the airline has already received a certificate of the Chief Civil Aviation Department (CCDA) for operation of aircraft and is now going through the final stage of obtaining a certificate for operating regular commercial flights.
He said the maiden flights are scheduled for April 21 in two directions – Tel Aviv and Moscow, after which they will start operating regular flights to Tehran, Dubai, Prague, Kiev, Minsk, Barcelona, London and Larnaca.
He added that the geography of flights will be expanding to the Russian cities of Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Mineralnye Vody and Samara and later to Germany and Italy. He also said that the prices of air tickets will not be very expensive. According to him, the highest price for a ticket to any destination will be 49 euros and about 96 euros including all the fees and taxes.
Unlike low-cost airlines there will be no restrictions on passengers’ luggage weight; the passengers will be provided also with meals, but the tickets cannot be exchanged for another date or given back. He also said that the airline will begin scheduled flights with three leased Boeing 737, but plans to expand its fleet to five aircraft in July and eight by the end of the year. In the future, the airline plans to acquire a CRJ aircraft.
“The average age of our fleet of aircraft will not exceed 15 years; they will undergo maintenance at the Lufthansa in Germany,” said Gaiashvili.
He refused to voice any figures, including the amount of investments made. Gaiashvili also denied media allegations that Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan holds 50% of the new airline.
“Neither the prime minister nor any representatives of the Armenian leadership is among the founders of the airline,” Gaiashvili said, adding that such rumors are being circulated to damage the new airline.
According to him, given Armenia’s geopolitical location it has no alternative to the development of aviation. As an example, he mentioned the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008, when all airlines stopped flights to Tbilisi, with the exception of the national carrier Georgian Airlines.
“Aviation is an essential resource for Armenia, there is a good market and the spread of such rumors do not contribute to its formation,” said Gaiashvili.
The founders of the airline, according to CCAD are Ashot Torosyan (51%), Gaiashvili (25%) and Robert Hovhannisyan (24%). Gaiashvili is the founder of the Georgian airline Airzena. He was chairman of its Board of Directors, while Hovhannisyan was his deputy.
According to reports in the Armenian media, most of the employees of the new airline will be staffed by Airzena’s personnel. It will also use Airzena’s fleet.