ArmInfo. Armenian companies have left airline market of Armenia because of open skies policy, Head of "Executive Travel", General sales agent of "Air France KLM" Levon Baghdasaryan told ArmInfo's correspondent.
According to him the main goal of the open skies policy was to remove all restrictions regarding frequency of flights and destinations as well as airline companies wishing to carry out flights to Armenia. In a way the policy gave impetus to development of tourism and economy of the country. Unfortunately, according to Baghdasaryan, the Armenian airline companies were not ready for such competition. As a result they had to leave the market, the expert stated.
The expert said that he was against the introduction of open skies policy. However, the authorities were expecting that the policy will lead to opening of new jobs, and growth of the field's share in GDP, "Possibly, more time is needed to realize whether the country needed this policy", the head of Executive Travel stated.
To recall, the national air carrier of Armenia - Armavia -suspended its flights on 1 April 2013 and launched the bankruptcy procedure because of unfair competition and pressure from Russian airline companies. In 2014 the same happened to Air Armenia. On October 23, 2013, the Armenian government approved the programme implying provision of competitive and long- term air transportation services in the country. The program is based on a joint study of McKinsey & Company and National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia. According to the program Open Skies policy would have positive impact on opening of job places, growth of passenger transportation and reduction of tariffs. Particularly, it was anticipated that the Open Skies policy would reduce the prices of flights to Armenia by 10% on the average, would lead to opening of 18.000-23.000 new jobs, growth of passenger turnover by 20- 25%. According to the plan thiswould allow the country to additionally increase the GDP by 1.5% or $0.3-0.4 bln AMD per annum.