Armenia’s main international airport and biggest airline face strong criticism from some newspapers for the quality of their services which remains poor despite their privatization. “Hayots Ashkhar” accuses the Russian-owned Armavia carrier of making “super-profits” through unilaterally raising ticket prices, overbooking its flights and resorting to other forms of fraud. The paper says the government has failed to regulate the market and protect travelers’ interests. “The frequency of those disgraceful acts has reached such an extent that the oversight service of the presidential administration is now showing interest in the situation.”
“Azg,” citing officials from the presidential office, says several employees of the Zvartnots airport have been fired in recent days for “inappropriate treatment of citizens.” The paper says little has changed at Zvartnots ever since it was taken over by an Argentinian billionaire of Armenian descent last year. “The airport’s name has been changed, but they continue to extort money,” it says. “It’s impossible to obtain any flight information there.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says leaders of the Republican and Dashnaktsutyun parties are losing their patience with the “populism” of parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, the leader of their coalition partner, Orinats Yerkir. “This is not tolerable anymore,” the paper quotes an unnamed Republican leader as saying. “Orinats Yerkir began a presidential election campaign on June 13, and is trying to draw all of us into its own populist programs. It makes statements on behalf of the coalition and then we have to say that those statements were agreed with us in order to preserve the coalition.” The paper says the Dashnaks and Republicans will raise the issue at the next meeting of the coalition’s governing council.
Baghdasarian, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” has built a personality cult inside his party. To drive its point home the paper cites the following comments by Orinats Yerkir’s Gagik Mkheyan who chairs the Armenian parliament’s committee on social affairs. “As a politician, Artur Baghdasarian is irreplaceable for me. As a statesman, Artur Baghdasarian is irreplaceable for me. As someone concerned about the people’s needs, Artur Baghdasarian is irreplaceable for me.”
Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian make his case in “Aravot” for the reopening of Armenia’s border with Turkey. “I think that any person living in Armenia who has some understanding of the country’s economic situation stands for the opening of the Turkish-Armenian frontier,” he says. “Unfortunately, Armenia’s routes to Russia and Europe today pass only through Georgia and we witness numerous negative phenomena on Georgian territory: high tariffs, huge obstacles and expenses to companies transporting cargos and passengers.” Manukian says the Turkish government is conducting “preparatory work” for reopening the Turkish section of the Gyumri-Kars railway.