British Airways Makes First Flight to Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– A British Airways A-320 jet landed Thursday at the Yerevan Zvartnots airport.

This test flight operated by the British firm–which is one of the most renowned airline companies–will become the first in a series of regular flights to Armenia. Prior to this–British Airways operated only three flights to the Transcaucasus region daily–that is–to the capital of Georgia. Flights to Yerevan will be operated twice a week via Tbilisi. The flights will be carried out by A-320 jets manufactured at the Airbus corporation which are able to take up to 180 passengers. The authorized representative of British Airways in Armenia is Levon Travel.

British Airways General Manager for Russia & CIS Geoff Rhodes told journalists at a briefing held the same day that it was possible that in future–after the market was formed–the London-Yerevan-London flights would be operated directly without landing in Tbilisi.

Moreover–he said that the number of flights would also grow. Rhodes said that flights operated to Armenia were of great strategic importance for the company. The Zvartnots airport–whose safety and service levels were described by Rhodes as satisfactory and meeting international standards–will further become a transit point–where from the British company will operate flights to other countries of the region and CIS.

Rhodes also said that very soon British Airways would have a competitor as starting on Dec. 10 the Armenian Airlines is going to launch Yerevan-London flights. AAL Executive Director Tigran Achoyan reported that the flights would be so far operated twice a week via Amsterdam on board of IL-86 jet.

Asked whether the usage of the same route by two air companies trigger serious problems–Deputy Chief of the General Civil Aviation Department Armen Ter-Tachatian told that those flights would be operated in accordance with intergovernmental agreement on air communication signed between Armenia and the United Kingdom Under the agreement both sides have equal rights on the market of cargo and passenger transfers.

Yerevan-London-Yerevan route is of great importance for Armenia and the UK as it will promote extension of cultural and economic relations between the two countries. Next year the volume of transit flights at the Zvartnots airport will grow simultaneously with the increase in number of flights. For instance–AAL is planning to launch flights to Delhi–and other countries of the region in future.

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