YEREVAN, October 19. /ARKA/. It is the third time in this week Armenia’s International Airport Zvartnots has suspended the flights of Armavia national air carrier for the latter’s debts.
“At the moment, Armavia’s debt is $3 million 215 thousand, whereas the air carrier pledged yesterday to reduce the debt amount to $3 million today. The airport expects the company to fulfill its promise,” spokesman for the airport Gevorg Abrahamyan said Friday, Novosti-Armenia reports.
He reminded that, according to the contract, the debt must have been cut to $2 million 360 thousand.
“In other words, the registered debt threshold is exceeded by $900,000. And Zvartnots had to suspend the flights,” the spokesman said.
On her side, spokeswoman for Armavia Nana Avetisova said the company is paying on a daily basis.
“I can’t say anything more, because now we are going to find out what the problem is, and later I will inform you,” she said.
The suspension of services is just the latest in a series of disputes between Armavia and Zvartnots, concerning the level of service charges set by the airport. Flights have been suspended several times – in November 2011, March and most recently in September.
Armavia argues that the service charges at Zvartnots, Armenia’s main international airport are unreasonably high. Mikhail Baghdasarov, the airline’s majority shareholder since 2005, has several times said that Armavia might be forced to file for bankruptcy unless the charges are reduced. After the September suspension the sides were said to have signed a new debt-restructuring deal. In case of breach of the agreement the airport reserves the right to sue the airline.
Armavia operates more than 100 flights a week to 40 destinations in 20 countries. In April 2011, it became the first commercial airline to put a Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 into operation, but later cancelled its order for a second Superjet and tried to return the first. However, on October 5, Sukhoi announced that it had reached a new six-month leasing agreement with Armavia on the Superjet.
Zvartnots airport is run by Armenia - International Airports Company under a 30-year concession agreement signed with the Armenian government in 2001. The owner of the company is the Argentine American International Airports, owned by Argentine citizen of Armenian origin Eduardo Eurnekian.-0-