May 15, 2010 Saturday
United States : Launch Of Armenia-US Flights Delayed
Armenia s national airline has postponed the long-awaited launch of
direct flights to the United States, expected late last year, for
reasons that are not yet clear. The Armavia private carrier and the
Armenian government blame one another for the delay.
A direct flight service between the two countries was made possible by
a U.S.-Armenian open skies agreement that was signed in November 2008
and went into effect last June. The agreement is equally applicable to
Armenian and U.S. airlines.
The Armenian government s Civil Aviation Department said in June that
Armavia will soon apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a
license to fly to New York and Los Angeles. The head of the
department, Artyom Movsisian, was confident that the company will get
the green light by the end of 2009, after a planned visit to Yerevan
by a team of inspectors from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
They were due to look into Armenian aviation facilities, safety rules
and practices, and assess their conformity with international
standards. The inspection has still not taken place, however. Neither
the Civil Aviation Department, nor Armavia gave a clear explanation
for that when contacted by RFE/RL s Armenian service this week.
The state s involvement in this matter has come to an end, said Nelly
Charchinian, a spokeswoman for the civil aviation authority. The state
has nothing to do anymore.
It is Armavia s responsibility to deal with the remaining issues, she
added. It has to file an application to U.S. aviation authorities and
then organize flights.
But Armavia spokeswoman Nana Avetisova countered that the airline can
not do that before an FAA assessment. We planned to start flights in
the spring of 2010, she said. In essence, Armavia is ready to start
flights to Los Angeles and New York. However, the issue is related to
the Civil Aviation Department and the Yerevan airport because the U.S.
side was supposed to give clearance to the flights only after its
inspections aimed at ascertaining whether the airport is prepared for
Avetisova also confirmed that Armavia has yet to acquire long-haul
passenger jets used in Transatlantic flights. Our management keeps
saying that we will definitely acquire a plane for Transatlantic
flights this year, she said. But that probably depends on the U.S.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress