Saturday, March 12 2016 17:57
Naira Badalian

Newly established Armenia air company: dark horse and future of Armenian aviation

Newly established Armenia air company: dark horse and future of  Armenian aviation

ArmInfo. Newly established Armenia airline company does not inspire trust, former head of Armenia's General Department for Civil Aviation (GDCA), Shahen Petrosyan stated at the today's meeting with journalists, commenting on the media hype around a new airline company entering on the Armenian market of passenger air transportation. 

 
According to him, it is impossible to talk about the seriousness of this company when the information about its financial resources and future investments is not disclosed. "The representatives of the company have stated nothing except promises and common expressions. It is unknown who stands behind this company and what goals it pursues", he stated. At the same time, the expert did not exclude that the company will enter Armenian aviation market, work for several months and then will announce about its bankruptcy. 
 
To recall, the heads of the newly established company have stated that the first flights from Yerevan will be conducted next month. According to company's shareholder Robert Hovhannisyan the airline company has already been registered and undergoes the last stage of the process of receiving a certificate for conducting regular commercial transportation. 
 
To note, according to the information by Armenia's General Department for Civil Aviation the founders of the "Armenia" air carrier are Ashot Torosyan (51% stake), Tamaz Gaiashvili (24%) and Robert Hovhannisyan (25%). Tamaz Gaiashvili is the founder of the Georgian "Airzena" company and the former chairman of the company's Board of Directors, while Robert Hovhannisyan is his former deputy. Airzena airline was established and started operations in September 1993. Airzena became the national air carrier of Georgia in 1999. In August of 2004 Airzena was renamed to Georgia Airways however Airzena brand was maintaned. Givi Davitashvili is the General Director of Georgian Airways. According to Kommersant newspaper, recently the Georgian air carrier faced problems on the Georgian market caused by decline of passenger flow. The authors of the article mention that the problems of Airzena are first and foremost caused by strengthening of Russian air companies on the market. For the very same reasons former head of the air company Iase Zautashvili had not excluded that the company might leave the Georgian market. Russian Airflot entered Georgian 
market in the end of 2014. Zautashvili accused it in manipulations with dumping prices on the Georgian market and rose concerns that the Russian companies will occupy Georgian market. Commenting on the current situation former General Director of Airzena Iase Zautashvili stated that as there is no national air carrier on the Armenian market at the moment the new airline company will probably occupy this niche. 
 
Zautashvili says that Russia and Europe will be the main directions of the new airline company. Airzena according to Zautashvili reduced its activities and placed its staff to leave. The founders of the company decided to work in other direction. Zautashvili thinks that this is caused by strengthening of Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian and other airline companies. At the same time, information was spread in mass media that the management team of Georgian Air Services compels their employees to write a letter of resignation. As one of the employees of the company told PirWeli news agency, an emergency meeting has been held today, which was attended by former general director of the company and factual head of Georgian Air Servce Tamas Gaiashvili. ''Al the employees were invited to the meeting and Gaiashvili personally announced that we have to write letters of resignation and leave the company. They have not clarified the reasons and the number of the employees they plan to dismiss", one of the employees said and added that personnel purges are supposedly caused by financial problems, which the company faced after a number of international flights were canceled. In order to check this information Pirweli talked with Head of the public affairs department 
of the company Nino Giorgobiani who in fact denied the information that such a meeting was held. The Pirveli news agency also recalls the information that the owner of Armavia Mikhael Baghdasarov was offered to purchase Airzena and he was stating that ''this offer 
should be considered as the company is quite efficient''. 
 
Meanwhile, Armenian mass media found out that dentist from Gyumri Ashot Torosyan owns 51% of shares of Armenia Airline Company. The latter states that no oligarch, state official or the Prime Minister's son use his name and he is the real owner. However, as mass media informs those who are familiar with Ashot Torsyan are skeptical about this. According to people from Gyumri, Torosyan is a dentist with humble conditions of life, while others from his surrounding state that he has rich relatives in Georgia.  Meanwhile, as press secretary of Armenia airline company Gevorg Khachatryan stated the information about personal life of the shareholders is not a subject to disclosure refusing to comment on the information whether the shareholder of the company and dentist from Gyumri are the same person. He suggested waiting for a week after which all the information about the owners and the plans of the company will be presented.
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