ArmInfo. Policy of open sky announced by Armenia in no way should become an obstacle for establishment of local airline companies, however at the same time none of the companies can have a status of national air carrier, which envisages special preferences, Head of General Department of Civil Aviation of Armenia Sergey Avetisyan expressed this opinion to journalists after the government session today.
Avetisyan stated that he does not agree with the statement that Armenia's aviation field is monopolized by Russian airline companies and noted that in conditions of open air policy local companies face more difficulties in their operation. "This is common not only for the Armenian but also for the world market" he clarified. According to him, large representation of Russian companies on the Armenian market of air transportation has a quite logical explanation. He noted that most of the Armenian passengers fly to Russian destinations, as there is a large Armenian Diaspora in that country. Avetisyan noted that no one has the right to state that obstacles are created for operation of this or that company in Armenia, as it is basically impossible in conditions of open sky policy. As for absence of local companies Avetisyan explained this by the fact that aviation is an expensive business and needs large investments.
Head of the GDCA ruled out the possibility of giving bribes by the airline companies to the officials for entering Armenian aviation market. "I have never faced such a thing and can assure that this is out of the question and can not happen", he stressed. Answering to the question whether international low-cost carriers can make use of Armenia's 'open sky' the head of the department noted that a work is being done in this direction, however it is early to mention exact terms. "The airline companies do not demonstrate flexibility in their route shifts due to restrained number of planes and long-term planning of flight schedules", he noted. To note, besides the Russian airline companies traditionally operating on the Armenian airline market RosAviation has given access to a regular Russian air company "Saratov Airlines" on conducting regular flights, while Ural Airlines company has announced about launch of regular flights from Moscow Domodedovo airport to Yerevan. UTair Company also increases the number of flights to Armenia due to growth of passenger flow.
It should be noted at this background that Armenian "Armenia" Airline Company received a certificate on conducting regular flights on March 16, 2016. However, the company failed to become a regular air carrier. To recall, in March 2016 the regular court of Kentron and Nork Marash administrative districts of Yerevan approved the financial sanation program of Air Armenia company, whose debts grew after almost a year of operation. "If the Russian air carriers enjoy preferences in the Armenian airport, then the local carriers should also be provided with the same conditions," Arsen Avetisyan, Director of Air Armenia, told ArmInfo back in March.