Mar 16, 2011

Armavia delays flights, accusing Yerevan airport of blackmail

The Armenian national air carrier, Armavia, has this morning delayed its flights for one hour in a protest for high service prices at the Zvarthnots International Airport, the company's press secretary, Nana Avetisova, has told
She said the service prices at the Yerevan airport exceeded the prices of Moscow airports three times and were almost twice higher than at European airports.
"Main air carriers all over the world always benefit from privileged terms. Armavia, as a national air carrier, has no privileges at all, even though it carries out about 500 flights every month and increases the number of its monthly flights to 700 in summer. The terms, however, are the same as for companies carrying out no more than four flights monthly," Avetisova said.

Earlier, the spokesman of the Zvarthnots Airport, Gevorg Abrahamyan, had said no services were provided to the company's flights due to accumulated debts.
Avetisova said, however, that the company is delaying its flights because the fuel which is imported to Armenia by an Armavia shareholder is sold to the company at a $150 higher price. She said the company is thus attempting to focus passengers' attention to the problem and added that the high service prices at the airport prevent Armavia to reduce the prices on air-tickets.
"Despite the high prices, Zvartnots has adopted strict measures, suspending the services for Armavia's flights. Current debts, according to the international practice, should be paid off during the coming month. Although Armavia debts have been reduced by 20%, the airport demands that they be paid them off in advance," she said, adding that the company is taking such steps to reduce the ticket prices.
"And that can be achieved only through negotiations and concessions, rather than blackmail," she added.
Avetisova denied the reports that the Armavia company is being sold.
"The company is not being sold. On the contrary, it is expanding the geography of its flights and enriching its aircraft fleet, and that's something our rivals dislike," she noted.


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