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Armenian Airline Banned From Turkish Airspace


Armenia - A FlyOne Armenia plane takes off from Yerevan's Zvartnots airport, March 17, 2022.

Turkey has banned an Armenian airline from flying to and from Europe through its airspace.

The private carrier, FlyOne Armenia, reported the ban earlier this week. It said it has cancelled its regular flights to Paris and another French city, Lyon, as a result.

The Turkish civil aviation authority gave no reason for the ban. It has yet to respond to a request for comment filed by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Stepan Payaslian, a senior official from the Armenian government’s Civil Aviation Committee, said on Wednesday that FlyOne Armenia appealed to it for help.

He said the committee could not directly contact the authorities in Ankara because of the absence of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey. It therefore forwarded the airline’s request to the Armenian ministries of foreign affairs and infrastructures as well as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), added Payaslian.

“We have not yet received a reply,” Payaslian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

The official said that the Turkish ban is “incomprehensible” given the fact that FlyOne Armenia is still allowed to fly to Istanbul.

FlyOne Armenia and a private Turkish carrier launched Yerevan-Istanbul flights in February following the start of Turkish-Armenian negotiations on normalizing relations between the two neighboring states. Turkish officials touted that as a major step towards the normalization.

Turkey had banned all Armenian aircraft from its airspace in September 2020 three weeks before the outbreak of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Although Armenia did not retaliate against the move, Turkish planes reportedly stopped flying over Armenia during the six-week war.

FlyOne Armenia was set up last year by Armenian and Moldovan investors. According to Armenian media reports, it is controlled by individuals linked to Khachatur Sukiasian, a wealthy businessman and lawmaker representing Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party.

Sukiasian has been a vocal advocate of Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

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