Thursday, April 27 2017 11:12
Alexandr Avanesov

EU: Armenia has chances to become aviation hub

EU: Armenia has chances to become aviation hub

ArmInfo. In Yerevan on April  27, negotiations started between Armenia and the European Union on a  comprehensive agreement on the common aviation space.  According to  the head of the General Department of Civil Aviation of Armenia  Sergey Avetisyan, the agreement is part of the policy of the Open Sky  approved by the government of the republic in 2013. With the signing  of the document, Armenia will have the opportunity to further  liberalize the air transportation market, improve the quality of  passenger service, and regulate the legal framework. "I think that we  will not have to wait long for the agreement," stressed Sergey  Avetisyan, adding that the first contacts on the beginning of the  negotiation process began as early as 2014.

In his turn, the head of the European Union delegation in Armenia,  Ambassador Piotr Switalski stressed the importance of starting  negotiations. According to him, the relations between Armenia and the  EU are entering a new stage, the results of which will be felt by  ordinary citizens of Armenia. Conclusion of the agreement will lead  to significant growth of flights, appearance of new European airlines  in the Armenian market, reduction of prices for air tickets. In  addition, the document could lead to a sharp increase in the number  of tourists. "In Armenia, is beautiful nature, which I myself admire,  and I am sure that it will be awarded the same rating by tourists  from the countries of the European Union," said Piotr Switalski.

A similar point of view has the deputy head of the European  Commission's department for the conclusion of aviation agreements  Klaus Gale. According to him, both the EU and Armenia are interested  in the successful conclusion of the negotiations, as evidenced by the  December 1, 2016 EU Council on Transport, Telecommunications and  Energy mandate to start negotiations on a comprehensive agreement on  air transport with Armenia. The conclusion of the document will allow  increasing competitiveness in the Armenian market of air  transportation, bringing the legal base closer to international  standards. Klaus Gale noted that similar EU negotiations are also  taking place with a number of other countries, including with the  Eastern Partnership countries. He stressed that Armenia will also  have all chances to become an aviation hub that will connect the West  with the East and become a transit stopover point. In this context,  the parties will provide each other with the 5th aviation freedom,  that is, European carriers will be able to carry cargo and passengers  not only from their country to Armenia, but also from Armenia to  third countries. The same freedom will be granted to airlines from  Armenia.

To recall, on December 1, 2016, the EU Council for Transport,  Telecommunications and Energy approved the mandate to begin  negotiations on the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement on air  transport with Armenia. The comprehensive agreement on the common  aviation space is aimed at improving the quality of international  communications in Europe, providing high-quality services and  providing a wider choice for passengers, the EU's report to ArmInfo  reads. The agreement is also aimed at increasing competitiveness in  the EU aviation industry. The agreement with Armenia will take the  form of the Common Aviation Area Agreement, as Armenia is one of the  countries with which the EU is building closer ties within its  neighborhood policy.

It is reported that the chairman of the council Arpad Er?ek welcomed  the decision to start negotiations with Armenia. In his opinion, the  agreement will facilitate the dynamic exchange of tourists, the  establishment of lower tariffs in the aviation market and will open  new opportunities for business. "The agreement will be an excellent  example of cooperation between Armenia and the EU in the context of  the Eastern Partnership," he said. The Commission will conduct  negotiations on behalf of the EU and its member states.

To note, Europe's safe and stable airspace for a long time remained  closed to Armenia. The timing of Armenia's accession to the "Single  European Sky" was postponed several times. In December 2015, in  Brussels, during a meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister and EU  High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Edward  Nalbandian announced Armenia's readiness to sign the Common Aviation  Area Agreement with the EU. In recent months, Yerevan has repeatedly  stressed its interest in the early start of negotiations. At the same  time, the Armenian side noted that it sees no reason for postponing  the execution of the mandate.

According to the established procedure, immediately after receiving  the mandate, the EC will be authorized to start negotiations with  Yerevan. Armenia will be provided with a draft agreement, which,  according to the EU, will be the basis for negotiations on accession  to a unified airspace. As those responsible for the sphere in Armenia  assured, the negotiations will not be long, since there is a basic  model format of cooperation with all countries.

The single aviation space of Europe is considered a horizontal  agreement, that is, it will automatically come into force for both  the EU as a whole and for each of its countries separately. As a  result of the accession to this agreement, a more liberal aviation  regime will operate between Armenia and 28 EU countries, which will  be used by airlines from Armenia and EU countries. In addition to  ensuring flight safety and certification regulations, the document  provides for the removal of restrictions on the performance of  flights of foreign carriers of Armenia, Armenian - to European  countries. This will allow, on better terms, to attract European  airlines to Armenia, in particular, budgetary ones. Liberalization  will also ensure fair competition at the international level through  a combination of state aid and regulation of standards. This means  integration into the European aviation market, assistance to the  entry of Armenian businessmen into foreign markets, becoming an  important transit country in the air transport field. From the member  countries of the Eastern Partnership, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine  joined the common aviation space.

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