Armenia turns to other carriers to fill Armavia void

Moscow
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Armenian authorities have opted to liberalise the country's aviation industry rather than salvage Armavia from bankruptcy.

The national flag-carrier suspended services on 1 April. By estimates, it owes between $50 million and $110 million to creditors.

Civil aviation agency chief Artyom Movsisyan says its management has not submitted a viable turnaround plan to the government.

"Therefore, we've made a decision in principle to end Armavia's monopoly on international routes and invite bids for flying rights from three other carriers," he says.

He declines to elaborate on potential bidders and adds that terms of the planned contest are being discussed.

"The goal is to restore scheduled services [from Armenia] to Europe, the Middle East and CIS countries. In addition, all bidders could receive rights to serve Moscow."

The government intends to issue international route rights for five years. But if the airline does not meet obligations to launch services within six months, its license would be annulled, says Movsisyan.