ArmInfo. Head of General department of Civil Aviation of Armenia Sergey Avetisyan considers justified Armenia's joining ''Open Skies'' policy. ''From the moment when the Open Skies policy was announced Armenia has exceeded expectations", Sergey Avetisyan stated answering to ArmInfo's question related to results achieved within the announced policy.
Meanwhile, according to Avetisyan implementation of Open Skies policy is a positive process. He noted that prior to 2013 Armenia cooperated with other countries in the field of air transport based on inter-governmental agreements, which set a number of restrictions in the context of frequency, tariffs and number of airline companies operating on the air market. "After joining "Open Skies" policy starting from 2013 Armenia has revised its aviation relations with 20 countries of the world, while signing the Common Aviation Area Agreement with the EU will provide an opportunity to liberalize relations with 28 countries of EU", he stated.
The Head of GDCA thinks that within 4 years of open sky policy Armenia has exceeded figures set in the Program of ensuring provision of competitive and long-term services of air transport in Armenia. "The program of open sky policy envisaged growth of passenger flow, reduction of prices on air tickets and a number of other indicators, which we have more than exceeded", he stated. At the same time he did not provide any numbers related to ensuring additional GDP or creation of new job places.
To recall, the national air carrier of Armenia - Armavia - suspended its flights on 1 April 2013 and launched the bankruptcy procedure. In 2014 the same happened to Air Armenia. On October 23, 2013, the Armenian government approved the program 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 this would allow the country to additionally increase the GDP by 1.5% or $0.3-0.4 bln AMD per annum. -l- To note, following the liquidation of Armavia, the "open sky" policy resulted in large-scale exodus of foreign companies from the Armenian market. As a result, due to the high prices of air tickets, many Armenian passengers prefer to make use of the services of neighboring Georgia, where there are several low- cost European companies.