Airlines Remembered

Armenian Airlines


(Subsidiary of Armenian CAD)

Photos © R.Leeuw


Ceased operations: 2002 (replaced by Armenian Int'l Airlines)
Homebase: Yerevan-Zvartnots & -Erebuni
Founded: 1993
ICAO callsign: Armenian
Flightnbr prefix: R3 / RME
Operations: passengers & cargo

(c) Ruud Leeuw
Tupolev Tu-154B-1 EK-85166 (c/n 166) parked on the ramp at Amsterdam Int'l Airport sometime in 1996.

Armenia Air Lines was formed from Aeroflot's Armenia directorate.
Armenian Airlines had used Tupolev airplanes. But following tightening of environmental regulations, the Tupolevs were banned from landing in European airports because they did not meet emissions and noise standards.
For this, Armenian Airlines began leasing in 1998, with an option to buy, the Airbus A310. The contract stirred controversy among those who questioned why the Government airline was, for the first time, using a non-Russian-made aircraft. But some foreign agencies doing business in Armenia said they could not get life insurance for employees who flew on Tupolevs, due to the aircrafts' history of problems. The Airbus, then, became the European link for the "official airline of Armenia".

Armenian Airlines faced disruption of its European operations following engine failure on January 21st 2002 which caused a Yerevan-to-Paris flight to turn around mid-air and return to Zvartnots International Airport where the crippled Airbus landed safely.
On January 28th, representatives of Armenian Airlines visited London to discuss means for getting the Airbus repaired. According to directors of the company, the repair bill could go as high as $2 million, the quickest solution being to replace the damaged engine. Otherwise, the engine would have to be sent either to Brussels, Belgium or Toulouse, France for repairs but that could take months.
The A310 was the only aircraft in the Armenian Airlines fleet that met European aviation regulations. It flew every day on routes to Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt.
The technical problems remained with its Airbus A310 and the company ran in financial problems. Cooperation was started with the new Belgian operator VG Airlines (later renamed Delsey Airlines); but the Belgian operator had to file for bankruptcy on November 05th, 2002. Armenian Airlines was reported to be looking for cooperation with Armenian International Airways to continue or restart its flights into Europe.

1 October 2002 Source: ArmenianDaily: "The newly appointed head of Armenian Airlines, Arsen Avetisian, said the Yerevan Zvartnots airport will soon have a runway, the only one in the CIS that will allow landings and take offs in any weather conditions.
He dismissed allegations that the Armenian Airlines was recognized as bankrupt. "It will remain and will develop through seeking cooperation with other companies" he said, adding that the company still owns several Soviet-made planes which are capable of operating flights".
The company is said to be holding negotiations with a Russian company to get a $10 million loan.
Armenian Airlines current debt is $19 million.

Armenian Airlines was officially declared bankrupt on 15Apr03 and its rights were sold to ArmAvia (a 70% subsidiary of Sibir Airlines).

The fleet in 2002 consisted of:

Reg.TypeC/nCapacity
EK-87536Yakovlev 409520142Y34
EK-88157Yakovlev 409611146Y36
EK-88167Yakovlev 409610147Y36
EK-88199Yakovlev 409630149Y34
EK-88262Yakovlev 40K9711752Y36
EK-46711Antonov 24B99902109Y48
EK-47812Antonov 24RV17307004Y48
EK-49275Antonov 24T9911102Y44
EK-48026Antonov 32B3209Freighter
EK-65044Tupolev 134A-349450Y72
EK-65072Tupolev 134A-349972VIP
EK-65822Tupolev 134A-309071Y72
EK-65831Tupolev 134A-317102Y72
EK-65848Tupolev 134A-323136Y72
EK-65975Tupolev 134A-33352006Y72
EK-11351Antonov 12BP4341910Freighter
EK-85166Tupolev 154B-1166F12Y126
EK-85279Tupolev 154B-2279Y155
EK-85403Tupolev 154B-2403Y155
EK-85442Tupolev 154B-2442 Y145
EK-85536Tupolev 154B-2536F12Y126
EK-85566Tupolev 154B-2566F12Y126
F-OGYWAirbus Industrie A310-222276F30Y164
F-Airbus Industrie A310-222404F30Y164
EK-86117Ilyushin 8651483209085Y306
EK-86118Ilyushin 8651483209086Y306

Sources:
Fleet info: JP Airline Fleets 2002/2003


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