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Obscure Firm Keen To Become New Armenian National Airline


Armenia - Passengers board an Armavia airline flight at Yerevan's Zvartnots airport.

Armenia - Passengers board an Armavia airline flight at Yerevan's Zvartnots airport.

A hitherto unknown private company confirmed on Monday reports that it is seeking to become Armenia’s new national airline following the bankruptcy of the Armavia carrier.

Vladimir Poghosian, director of the company called Krunk Air, said it will soon file a corresponding written application to the Armenian civil aviation authority and is ready to launch regular flights in about three months’ time.

Poghosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that Krunk Air would fly to over 60 destinations, including major cities in the United States, with fares that would be much lower than those set by Armavia. “We will be using our own fuel which will be cheaper by 50 percent,” he claimed.

Armavia terminated its flights to more than 40 cities in Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East as it filed for bankruptcy on April 1. It cited its inability to end massive losses and repay debts to Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport and other partners.

The private carrier went bankrupt less than a month before the expiry of its exclusive rights to international flights to and from Armenia, which were controversially granted to it by the government in 2004. The government has still not clarified whether it will transfer those rights to another airline or liberalize the aviation sector altogether. Its Civil Aviation Department again declined a comment on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the department, Nelli Cherchinian, said only that it has received no applications for flight rights from Krunk Air yet. Reports in the Armenian press claimed last week that the latter is well placed to be allowed to replace Armavia.

Very little is known about Krunk Air except for the fact that the Armenian Justice Ministry included it on the state registry of legal entities in late 2008. Poghosian and another little-known person, Hmayak Markarian, are listed as the company’s founders.

Poghosian said that that Krunk Air is owned by several ethnic Armenians. He refused to name them, however, saying only that some of them do not reside in Armenia.
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