Armavia Delays All Flights Because of ‘Enemies of the Homeland’
Starting this morning, Armenian airline Armavia is delaying all its flights by one hour in protest of the high prices set by Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan.
According to Armavia press spokesperson Nana Avetisova, “Zvartnots’ airport services are three times more expensive than Moscow airports and on average two times more expensive than in Europe (1.5 times more expensive than Paris airports; 2.5 times more than in Rome).”
Recall, Armenia International Airports press spokesperson Gevorg Abrahamyan yesterday accused Armavia of unpaid taxes. For this reason, the Yerevan-Moscow flight was delayed. Later, a Zvartnots representative said air service was restored, while negotiations with the airline for settling its debt were underway.
In its statement Armavia calls itself the “national air carrier” despite the fact that the airline is owned by a private entrepreneur, an importer of oil products to Armenia, Mikhail Baghdasarov.
“In the whole world, a country’s main air carrier works in better conditions [than other airline companies in that country], unlike Armavia, which, being the national carrier, has no improved conditions whatsoever, though it operates about 500 flights a month and around 700 flights during the summer months. And the conditions are the same as for those companies that operate only 4 flights a month. Moreover, even the fuel, which is imported into Armenia by Armavia’s [sole] shareholder, is sold $150 more expensive by the same airport.
“In this situation, Armavia cannot not resort to such a move, to attract the public’s, in particular its passengers’, attention since the high prices for airport services do not allow Armavia to lower prices on airline tickets. And, despite such high prices, Zvartnots resorted to tough measures: terminating Armavia flights for non-payment of debts.
“According to international practice, the current debt is paid the following month. Despite the fact that 20% of Armavia’s debt to Zvartnots has already been paid, the airport demands the debt be paid [in full] in advance,” reads the statement by Armavia.
Armavia’s decision to delay flights this morning, according to the statement, was made in order to lower the cost of airfare, and “this can happen only through compromise and negotiations, not by means of blackmail, which only spurs rumors about the alleged sale of the company’s shares.”
“The company is not for sale, but on the contrary, continues its policy of geographical expansion of flights and replenishing its fleet, which the ‘enemies of our Homeland’ do not like,” reads the statement.
Note, occasionally local Armenian media reports indicate that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s son-in-law, Mikael Minasyan, would like to gain control of Armavia.
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