Armenia’s aviation industry has also featured other airlines, some of whom are only freight carriers, while others operate commercial and charter flights with fleets of varying sizes. Altogether, these airlines offer a picture of the airline industry that highlights Armavia’s significant contribution to the history of aviation in Armenia. Below are details about other commercial airlines that have operated in Armenia.
Established in 2003 in Yerevan, Air Armenia started its operations with cargo-only flights. When Armavia suspended operations in April 2013, the airline expanded its existing cargo fleet to include a Boeing 737-500 and Airbus 320-200 for passenger flights. Air Armenia essentially took over from Armavia as the country’s national carrier, with flights to Moscow, Athens, St Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don among others. However, the airline suspended operations in October 2014 due to financial problems. In August, 2015 the company announced that it had received a $68.6 million investment from East Prospect Fund that would enable it resume operations by the summer of 2016.
Armenian Airlines was a state-owned carrier set up after independence in 1991. For about 10 years, it was the only commercial Armenian airline in operation until it faced competition from Armavia in 2002. Its fleet was initially composed of 5 Soviet-era planes: the Antonov An-12, Ilyushin Il-86, Tupolev Tu-134, Tupolev Tu-154 and Yakovlev Yak-42. However, European environmental regulations required it to begin leasing an Airbus A310 in 1998 for flights to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris. In 2002, the company began to experience financial problems due to technical issues with the Airbus A310 that would have cost the airline a large amount in repairs. By April 2003, Armenian Airlines officially declared bankruptcy and ceased operations.
Armenian International Airways
Armenian International Airways (AIA) is a privately owned airline with headquarters in Yerevan. It was established in 2002 by three Armenian businessmen with a view to taking over the Armenian Airlines routes from Zvartnots International Airport to Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. After Armenian Airlines closed down in 2003, Armavia and AIA were the two dominant players in aviation in Armenia. The airline operated an Airbus 320-212 for all its flights between 2002 and 2005. In January 2005, AIA merged with Armavia and began leasing its aircraft to Lebanese, Arab, Tunisian and Pakistani companies. However, the Airbus 320 was destroyed in a fire that erupted in a Brussels airport hangar in May 2006. Although the airline has ceased commercial flights, the company remains in existence and was renamed International Airways as of May 2014.
Atlantis European Airways
Founded in Yerevan in January 1999, Atlantis European Airways originally operated charter flights to other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States using planes leased from Armenian Airlines. In 2004, the airline entered a into code share agreement with Austrian Airlines for flights to Vienna and reached a similar agreement with Czech Airlines in 2005 for flights to Prague. These were scheduled and charter flights that served Armenia’s tourist population. In July 2014, the airline purchased its first aircraft, an Airbus A320-200 that was formerly part of Armavia’s fleet.
From the history of other airline carriers in Armenia, it is clear that Armavia was a significant part of the aviation landscape in the country. Armavia replaced Armenian Airlines as the flag carrier of the country and the merger with Armenian International Airways only served to strengthen its international operations. Compared to the other airlines that operated in Armenia, it also had a significantly larger fleet that enabled it to operate routes to several destinations. Armavia has a clearly established place in the history of the Armenian aviation industry.