Armenia is a democratic republic, first formed in May1918, and has its own alphabet, which was invented in 405 CE. The country later became part of the Soviet Union, and in 1990, was the first Baltic State to leave that union. The years immediately after secession were economically difficult for the new Armenian republic formed in 1991, mainly due to trade embargos because they had left the union. The country is a member of the Council of Europe, and the Collective Security Organisation, as well as the Eurasian Economic Union. Since 1995 however, there have been questions about the ways in which the parliamentary and presidential elections are undertaken. Since that time, democracy has been steadily eroded, making Armenia an increasingly authoritarian state.
Armenia’s flagship airline Armavia was a great airline, belonging to the parent company, Mika Armenia Trading, which owned the whole operation. The airline was extremely popular with the Armenian people and operated out of Zvartnots and Shirack Airports. The Armavia LLC was formed in the December of 1996 and its head office was in the grounds of Zvartnots International Airport. The fleet was soon in operation and had ten vehicles, two were airbuses, A320-200, one of which had 148 seats and one with 164, a further Airbus A319- 100, was reserved for VIP travel.
The rest of the fleet consisted of 1 Yak 420 VIP with 27 seats, 3 Boeing 737-55S with 104 seats, and 3 CRJ-200 OLRs with 50 seats. In 2002, Armavia’s discussions and commercial agreements regarding the strategic alliance with Russia’s Sibir Company were concluded. The company was granted a licence the following year that allowed them to conduct International Air Transportation that was previously the reserve of American companies. Between 2003 and 2004 three further A320 airbuses were added to the fleet one with 156 seats and one with 164. By the time the airline filed for bankruptcy, and ceased operating in April 2013 it had a fleet of 22, including a Sukhoi Super jet 100 and a Yakoviev Yak-42.
Armenia is situated at the intersection of Asia and Europe, allowing scheduled flights travelling both east and west. It wasn’t until 2001 however, that the airline operated flights to both Russia and Turkey, after the airline’s amalgamation with Sukhoi, Russia’s civil airline; both Russian and Turkey were added to its list of destinations. Armavia wanted to fly to Los Angeles, California with flights starting from Yerevan with no stopovers but they lacked the required aircraft to make the flight. This changed in the first couple of years of the 21stCentury when Russian S7 Airlines bought 50% of Armavia’s shares.
The company had a good security profile, ranging from passenger conduct and safety, to aerosols, liquids and dangerous goods. Things went well for the airline until 2006 when Armavia flight 967 took off from Armenia en-route to a Russian coastal resort. The flight was carrying 113 people when it crashed in the sea while making first approach before landing at Sochi in Russia.
There were no survivors, and it was the highest ever death toll for an Airbus A320. While the publicity was not good for Armavia, it continued operating for another seven years after the tragedy. In 2007 Armavia and Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft signed an agreement worth millions of dollars for Armavia to receive 2 Sukhoi Super jets by 2009. Armavia took delivery of the 1stin 2011 and cancelled the 2ndin 2012 due to impending bankruptcy. Until the final year of operation Armavia Airlines flew to many different destinations, eventually closing in April of 2013.