Launch Of Armenia-U.S. Flights Delayed

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s national airline has postponed the long-awaited launch of direct flights to the United States, expected late last year, for reasons that are not yet clear. The Armavia private carrier and the Armenian government blame one another for the delay.

A direct flight service between the two countries was made possible by a U.S.-Armenian “open skies” agreement that was signed in November 2008 and went into effect last June. The agreement is equally applicable to Armenian and U.S. airlines.

The Armenian government’s Civil Aviation Department said in June that Armavia will soon apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a license to fly to New York and Los Angeles. The head of the department, Artyom Movsisian, was confident that the company will get the green light by the end of 2009, after a planned visit to Yerevan by a team of inspectors from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

They were due to look into Armenian aviation facilities, safety rules and practices, and assess their conformity with international standards. The inspection has still not taken place, however. Neither the Civil Aviation Department, nor Armavia gave a clear explanation for that when contacted by RFE/RL’s Armenian service this week.

“The state’s involvement in this matter has come to an end,” said Nelly Charchinian, a spokeswoman for the civil aviation authority. “The state has nothing to do anymore.”

“It is Armavia’s responsibility to deal with the remaining issues,” she added. “It has to file an application to U.S. aviation authorities and then organize flights.”

But Armavia spokeswoman Nana Avetisova countered that the airline can not do that before an FAA assessment. “We planned to start flights in the spring of 2010,” she said. “In essence, Armavia is ready to start flights to Los Angeles and New York. However, the issue is related to the Civil Aviation Department and the [Yerevan] airport because the U.S. side was supposed to give clearance to the flights only after its inspections aimed at ascertaining whether the airport is prepared for the service.”

Avetisova also confirmed that Armavia has yet to acquire long-haul passenger jets used in Transatlantic flights. “Our management keeps saying that we will definitely acquire a plane for Transatlantic flights this year,” she said. “But that probably depends on the [U.S.] flight permissions.”

The Armavia fleet currently consists of eight mostly Western-made aircraft flying to some 30 destinations in Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. One of them, an Airbus A320 jet, was purchased and went into service last week.

“We plan to acquire two more airplanes by the end of this year,” the airline’s director general, Norayr Belluyan, told journalists on May 7. He did not specify their type.

The planned Transatlantic flights will allow thousands of Armenians traveling to and from the United States each year to avoid lengthy layovers at European airports. They account for a large part of passengers taking daily flights between Yerevan and major European cities.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. Norin Radd said:

    This has nothing to do with closed border, now why don’t you act like a good little rat Turk and crawl back into the hole you came out of, Ahmet. Typical unintelligent comment from a Turk.

  2. Karine said:

    Ahmet, who has those borders closed again? Armenia’s borders are wide open. Turkey has an illegal blockade on those open borders. That’s one. Second, “Open Skies” agreement trumps Turkey’s illegal blockade by allowing Armenia to fly over Turkey’s airspace. Put that in your fez and whirl in it. Third, the border issue is not relevant here but you neededva schooling.

  3. Nareg Seferian said:

    There is no need to be rude, Norin Radd.

    Ahmet, this really doesn’t have anything to do with closed borders. Besides, the border with Turkey was closed unilaterally by Ankara, so you can’t blame Armenian authorities for it.

  4. hayrenaser said:

    shat apris norin, pataskan@d the’ teghin e, the’ al shat harmar, manavand vor ooghvatz e vodgragrotz aporinatzini m@, qez naman armenianer@ bazmanan

  5. fullmetalmonty said:

    Meh, Ahmet. Turkey closed the border, not Armenia, and they’re being quite hypocritical about it.

  6. Ahmet said:

    Norin Radd= A thypical armenian. so no need to answer.

    Nareg Seferian= Unusual Armenian. Thanks Nareg for the kind answer. Armenia being unable to use Turkish airspace might find it difficult to perform long haul flight. This is what came to my mind.

  7. john papazian said:

    This is what happens when willfull ignorance meets with embittered grudge. Its like both Turks and thier denial of historical fact and us with the poor pitifull me syndrome are never going to move on. Every Turk-Armenian issue is going to hinge on this,and it seems to me that the only thing the Turks are really worried about is “Hordes of Armenians comming to carve us up” like thanksgiving.Ahmet there are no Armenians comming to take your home or possesions,theres no vast hidden treasures of gold,thers no secret conspiracy of Jews and Armenians trying to bankrupt Turkey,and to think prior to the 19th century Armenians and Turks actually got along for the most part anyway.Must have been all that western meddling,ya know.Right now air routes should be a no brainer,the bennifits for both Turkey as well as Armenia are far more important than foolish denials and living in the past.

  8. ermeni said:

    flight from armenia to europe occur without going over turkish airspace daily. your questions about closed borders and flights to the usa have been answered. your airspace is not required.

  9. Ahmet said:

    papaz, did you say Hordes of Armenians coming to carve us up”
    what armenian hordes? where are they? armenians are nowhere near to be hordes. the republic of armenia is emptier day by day. there will be far less than 3 million armenians in armenia next decade.
    let me tell you what, papaz. I have seen armenians who fear that Turks will one day come and conquer armenia. this fear is embedded in their minds. but I have NEVER seen any Turks who are afraid that the mighty armenian hordes will come ant take away Turkish soil.
    read armenian newspapers and then read Turkish newspapers. you will see who is afraid and who is not. armenian newspapers are always obsessed with Turkey while you will find hardly any news about armenia in Turkish media. (you will try to save your argument by claiming that the Turkish media is not free. WRONG!)

  10. Dr. Rob said:

    Ahmet, it seems like you also have your facts wrong. First, by comparison armenians have far more wealthier individuAls then Turks. True Turkey is much wealthier and more established politically…but we both know that’s be use of the immense help they get from the US government. And the reason why they get this help? Because the US government knew long before that it would engage I. War with Muslim nations, there for they needed a “rat nation” that would defect against it’s own people and religion to suck up to a powerful Nation like the US. And they knew that other Muslim nations like Afghanistan or Iraq were too proud and true to their cause to be a Western puppet. They knew by your history that the
    Turkish people would be the easiest to use as a “whore nation” than any other Muslim country. Don’t get me wrong. I love America and what it stands for. But as a Turk , please put your bs patriotic lingo away and focus on facts. Turkey would be nothing if it didn’t play it’s role as a US tool against our war on terrorism. I have a partner who is a devout Muslim… And I respect him dearly because he stands by what he believes in. But Turks have no real beliefs or morales. They will sell their morales to any nation with the right amount of money. Normally I would never even engage In conversations like this, but your comments about Armenians raising their kids with fear from turks really urked me. Do you really think we give a crap about your or your nation?

  11. ermeni said:

    i have never heard or met another armenian who feared a turk. seriously, you just made that up.

  12. Haro Mherian, PhD Mathematics said:

    As far as the subject goes, eremeni is the only person here that gave a right answer. Airplanes travel on big circles of the sphere, Earth, they are called geodesic curves. They do so to minimize the distance between two points. Just like on a plane the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, on a sphere the geodesics are the big circles that are cross-sections of the sphere with straight planes through the center of the sphere. Fortunately, because of the size of Asia Minor, the entire Armenian Highland becomes very close to a point. This means that almost all routes to Armenia do not pass perpendicularly through the 328 km status quo borders to Erevan. Moreover, a bypass time required to bypass a 300 km of line on Earth is approximately 5 to 10 minutes for any commercial airplane. I am stating these facts just FYI.

  13. john papazian said:

    Ahmet you amaze your self don’t you? As for Turkish wealth,you people should show a little more gratitude to your American benifactor.Open borders are going to be the least of everyones worries after you war mongering Turks help Iran build a bomb.Is that how Turkey is? After America sends billions to Turkey in forgien aid,Turkey makes deals to deploy missles in Iran and will help build them a bomb? Funny thought,Iran fears an attack from US forces in Turkey and attsacks US forces in Turkey with Turkish missles.To bad America does not realize yet,Turkey is not to be trusted!

  14. Maxim said:

    It will be much better for Armenia now if a American carrier (United, AA or Delta) will start these flights.

  15. Cristina said:

    Joghovurd…why do you introduce Turkey and Turks when the subject is not about them..?
    The only one to blame is our incompetent government and the system that is rotten to the core…
    and AHmet, i am Armenian, and i don’t fear turks. I even have a Turkish friend, who is an ‘ok’ person.
    So once more, we don’t fear you. But (some, including me) of us hate you…

  16. john papazian said:

    Hate comes from fear,fear comes from ignorance.I know what Turkey is and I’m certainly not affraid of it.As to establishing air routes,it would not only benifit Armenia but Turkey as well.And would someone please recomend an english and grammer tutor for Ahmet