The Armenian government said on Tuesday that it has helped the Armavia national airline to settle a bitter financial dispute with Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport that threatened to disrupt flights to and from the country.
The dispute centers on Armavia’s $6.2 million debt to the airport incurred for ground services which the private carrier considers extremely expensive. Armavia’s owner, Mikhail Bagdasarov, last week threatened to file for bankruptcy unless an Argentine company managing Zvartnots cuts the service fees.
Bagdasarov claimed that some of those tariffs are two and even three times higher than at much larger airports in Russia and Europe. He gave the Zvartnots management until Tuesday to address his demands.
A spokeswoman for Armenia’s Civil Aviation Department told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the two sides reached a compromise agreement during two-day negotiations mediated by the department chief, Artyom Movsesian. “The two sides have reached an agreement and will operate on mutually beneficial conditions,” Nelli Cherchinian said.
In Cherchinian’s words, the settlement envisages “expedient conditions for Armavia to repay its debts and continue its operations.” “A clear timetable for debt repayment has been developed,” she said.
The official declined to specify whether Zvartnots agreed to lower its service fees. Neither the airport administration nor Armavia could be reached for comment.
The two companies already announced a compromise deal in March last year after the airport delayed several Armavia flights because of outstanding debts.