YEREVAN, JULY 28, ARMENPRESS. In the first half of this year, 1 million 94 thousand people have been transported through Armenia’s airports which is an increase of 29.3% compared to the same period of the previous year, Anna Chobanyan – Head of Air Transportation Regulation Department at the General Department of Civil Aviation, said in an interview to Armenpress.
-What figures do you have in the aviation field for the first half of 2017?
-We assess very positively the first half of the year. After the positive figures of 2016 we continue recording growth. In the first half of the year 1 million 94 thousand people have been transported, we already have 29.3% increase. We have great expectations to end the year with good figures than in 2016 when a record figure was registered over the past ten years. In 2016 the passenger flow comprised 2 million 177 thousand people. There is also an increase in the figures of cargo transportations, which comprises over 70%. We hope to maintain and increase these figures.
During 2017 we had new routes, activeness is being realized among the local airlines. In particular, Taron-Avia airline from Gyumri, as well as Armenia airline. Recently several non-regular routes were opened. Today we operate regular flights to Israel, Beirut and Astana.
-How did the opening of these new flights affect the ticket prices?
-The opening of new flights cannot have a direct impact on the prices of the tickets. It can have an indirect impact if flights ensure new transit routes, and here in case of competitiveness prices will decrease. I can state that we have decline in prices as a result of carrying out a new policy over the past three years. However, I want to highlight that we are still not satisfied with those figures. We need to hold talks so that many airlines will come, and if the number of passengers complies with, airlines can think about changing their price policy.
-There is an investment program for the development of Shirak airport, and restoration works are expected to be carried out at the airport. What works have been carried out and what investments have been made?
-Yes, today, the development of Gyumri’s airport is among our priorities. As you know, two airlines already operate flights in the airport. And in order to further intensify our work we need to improve infrastructures and work on expanding the services. There is already a developed program within the frames of which continuous investments are expected to be made.
-Is the entry of new airlines to Gyumri’s airport expected in the future?
-Usually we avoid providing information on the entry of new airlines as long as there is still no final decision by the airlines. But be confident that talks are underway, we hope the number of those airlines will increase. It depends on several factors, the process of talks, as well as the plans of the airlines. We are very optimistic and are further encouraged when we see the activeness. We see that airlines feel themselves good.
-What observations have been carried out for development of small aviation?
-The development of small aviation is also among our important programs. In terms of observations, the aviation department has carried out large-scale works. We have 16 aerodromes in Armenia, and we need to choose for which one we need to work on. Before that it is very important to explore the volumes of inland transportations to know on which direction to move forward. You know that there is already a positive progress over the Kapan airport. The final program for development of small aviation will be ready soon and we will launch the works.
-So it means that it is still early to speak about noticeable results?
-Yes, it’s still early since the relaunch of aerodromes requires serious work. A thorough analysis and time are needed for that.
-At what stage are the talks between Armenia and the EU on the Comprehensive Air Transportations agreement?
-Here we have great progress. There are positive results during the first official talks. Several points need to be finalized. Recently, in June, the delegation of the Head of the General Department of the Civil Aviation departed for Brussels where they held a discussion with our European partners and the talks on the remaining points ended. Now we are at a stage that the agreement must be submitted separately to the EU member states for approval. We hope it will be signed during the second round of official talks.
-What works have been made for introduction of Free Route Airspace concept?
-The introduction of the Free Route Airspace concept will enable the airlines to use short routes by significantly increasing the effectiveness of flights. There is already a working group formed for that purpose. I think by the end of 2017 we will have certain progress on this path.