(Saturday, May 6)
“Aravot” is worried about the fact that Russian and Armenian investigators have still not established the causes of Wednesday’s Armavia plane crash. Many hoped in the immediate aftermath of the disaster that the investigators will analyze and release the transcripts of the Airbus A320 crew’s conversations with Russian and Georgian traffic controllers. The paper now has “negligible hopes that something will come out” of the ongoing inquiry.
“Azg” questions Russia’s declared commitment to retrieving the plane’s crucial flight recorders from the Black Sea, saying that the Russians are in a position to “indefinitely delay” their search for the black boxes. That, says the paper, will enable Armenian and Russian officials to come up with differing and unsubstantiated theories of the crash. “Identification of the causes of the A320’s crash and a parallel independent inquiry stem from the interests of the Armenian aviation and the authority of our country,” it says.
“The theory about bad weather is not confirmed,” reads a headline in “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper quotes the head of the meteorological service at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport, Marzpetuni Chomoyan, as saying that at least 15 minutes before the crash the weather at Sochi airport was not very windy, the visibility was reasonably good and the rain quite light. He says both a weather forecast provided by Russian meteorologists was good enough for a safe flight. “We did not have worrisome data,” adds Chomoyan.
Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Shahen Petrosian, former head of Armenia’s civil aviation authority, says a “relentless exploitation” of aircraft by Armenia’s private airlines was also responsible for the crash.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” accentuates on the fact that aviation business in Armenia has effectively been “monopolized” by a businessman close to the ruling regime. “Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian have destroyed the Armenian aviation,” alleges the paper. “But they have done the same to all other spheres.” In a separate report, the paper claims that Sarkisian’s involvement in the probe of the crash is an attempt to “salvage his personal property.”
“The Russian claims that they lack the technological capacity to recover the black boxes from the sea are not quite convincing because they had lifted the huge Kursk submarine from the water,” says “168 Zham.” “If the Russian side was interested in identifying the real causes [of the crash] or did not have its share of responsibility for that accident, it would certainly present the voice recordings of the conversation between the Armenian pilot and the Russian traffic controller or would enable the controller to present details of that conversation. However, it’s been three days since the controller vanished.” The paper cites rumors that the controller was drunk and swore at the Armenian pilots during the fatal flight.
“For decades we have been proud of the professionalism of Armenian pilots,” editorializes “Aravot.” “There is no doubt that the aircrew of the plane that crashed on May 3 was also professional.” But, says the paper, the Russian authorities and media are now clearly intent on laying the blame on the pilots. “Blaming the dead is the easiest and most immoral variant,” it concludes.