The Role Of Aviation Is Much Greater Than The ‘Issue Of Prestige’

Norayr Hovsepian

Monday, 28 November 2011 05:39

On November 1, it was two years of Dmitry Adbashian’s stay in Artsakh.

We think it isn’t a small period, especially that you came in the
second Armenian state with a specific mission and there was no spare
time all this period. And the mission is very important – Artsakh
should have its civil aviation. What has been done in this direction
and what is to be done yet? Following is our interview on these and
some other issues with Chief Civil Aviation Department under the NKR
Government Dmitry Adbashian:

– Mr. Adbashian, you came here with a specific mission. Are you
satisfied with the realized works?

– I’ll try to bring some facts, but I’d not like to give any
self-evaluation. The works were conducted in a few directions. First,
they are the works conducted at the Stepanakert airport, which are
visible for many people. Two years ago, the basic building was just a
little higher than its foundation. Today, the basic and the adjoining
buildings are completed. This can be seen by those passing near the
airport. The quality of the works was always strictly controlled, and
we are not disappointed with it. Lately, much work was conducted on
the runway. We have widened and strengthened it. But, this is not all.

>From the very beginning, the runway’s position was so that its both
sides were covered with hills, which didn’t allow comparatively big
aircrafts to make a landing or takeoff, or, at least, they made it
risky. We’d not like to go deep into the issue and search the reasons
in Baku. I’d merely note a fact – changing the direction of the runway
just by a few degree, this inconvenience could be easily avoided. And
if we don’t do this, many people will not merely understand us.

Anyway, we have what we have. To change the direction of the runway,
or, to build a new one was inexpedient. And we decided to free the
required space, at least, in one direction. To date, these works are
completed. The tops of the hampering hills were cut. As a result,
the Stepanakert airport can receive all the kinds of airbuses smaller
than Airbus-320. And for the 50-seat CRJ-200, which will be put into
operation here, the conditions are quite favorable.

– What can you say about the equipment? Are the works on the airport’s
technical equipment underway?

– These works are completed. In the basic building, all the needed
equipment is installed for receiving, sending, and accompanying the
planes in accordance with the required standards. A few days ago,
we turned on for the first time and tried the lighting system of
the airport. Our expectations were justified. We started making
experimental flights on training aircrafts, checking in practice the
safety of the installed equipment.

– Do you have corresponding specialists for ensuring an efficient job?

– Initially, the flights will be made by invited specialists. I
mean pilots. Much time is needed for their training. We have held
corresponding re-training on other professions. Also, we have equipped
the educational center – the specialists’ training and retraining will
have a systematic character. Surely, it is preferable that the entire
personnel comprise local specialists. I hope we’ll achieve this goal
in the future. Moreover, our students will have the chance to study
also abroad, in particular, in Russia. We have visited the Artsakh
State University with corresponding proposals.

– Can you briefly introduce the situation in the legal field?

– The issue is half resolved. The civil aviation sphere is already
regulated by the law. But, we haven’t got yet the Air Code of the
Republic of Artsakh. Another missing is that our basic documents are in
the Armenian language. This is justified as of the domestic-circulation
documents. But, if we plan flights not only to Armenia and are ready
to receive aircrafts coming not only from Yerevan, so we should have
foreign-language documents, at least, in Russian. This is one of the
unresolved issues.

– And are there many unresolved issues?

– Maybe, it will seem ridiculous. But, though we cut the hills,
the issue of the landfill near the airport is still unresolved. This
represents a possible danger for us, both due to the inevitable smog
and big flocks of birds there.

– Among the unresolved issues, you didn’t note the possible
difficulties related to ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation
Organization) giving permission for making flights from and to
Stepanakert. You didn’t either note the threats permanently sounded
from Baku.

– As of Baku’s threats, surely, considering the modern technical
abilities, an aircraft flying from or to Stepanakert can be shelled
from Azerbaijan. But, despite everything, nobody can be unpunished
in shelling a civil aircraft. And this is realized in Baku. If you
have noticed, this issue has been recently avoided even in Azerbaijan.

As of the ICAO, the approaches here are contradicting. On the one
hand, the operation of the Stepanakert airport will give the Artsakh
people the chance to realize their inalienable right to freedom of
movement. This is a common right for all the people, regardless of
their belonging to any state – recognized or unrecognized. Nobody
argues with us on this issue. But, for making flights, inter-state
agreements are needed. Anyway, these issues can be also resolved. I’d
like to note that without violating the international law, we’ll make
flights on the same principle, on which some aviation companies make
flights from North Cyprus to different countries. Curiously enough, in
this issue, we’ll be comprehended best of all by our basic opponents –
Azerbaijan and Turkey.

– To speak half seriously and half jokingly, some taxi drivers and taxi
services in Artsakh suppose that when the airport starts operating,
their incomes will decrease.

– I’ll answer this question seriously. The availability of similar
viewpoints means that the role and significance of the civil aviation
for Artsakh isn’t fully realized yet by everybody. If you ask anybody
in the street why we need the civil aviation, probably, you will hear
in response: “We are not worse than others”, “This is an issue of
prestige”, etc. Surely, it is good that the people have high patriotic
spirit. But, the role of aviation is much greater than just the “issue
of prestige”. This will allow us to be closer to the world. We’ll
have new and incomparably greater possibilities for the development
of tourism and export of goods – not to Armenia, but to foreign states.

First, we’ll have airliners, but in the future, the issue of cargo
aircrafts will be also on the agenda. This will be economically

And as of the taxi drivers’ concern, aviation was never considered an
alternative to taxi in any country in the world. Surely, this will
not take place in our case either. On the contrary, the airport’s
operation will provide an additional job just for taxi drivers.

– In conclusion, I’d like to ask about the prices, which, I’m sure,
is an issue of concern for many people. When will the Stepanakert
airport start operating and what will the price policy be?

– The airport will start operating when it is fully ready. We have
no right to any mistake and we must get ready for this will full
responsibility. Some works are still underway. I can only say that
no news is expected in 2011 in this regard.

As of the prices, they will also depend on the prices for the services
at the receiving airports. Negotiations are still underway. Probably,
the price for a one-way ticket will be about 16000-18000 AMD.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS