Air Arabia To Launch New National Carrier For Armenia

The UAE-based low-cost Air Arabia carrier has decided to partner with the Armenian National Interests Fund(ANIF), a government’s foreign direct investment fund, to launch a new Armenian Airline. This week, the news was announced, and both of the parties involved signed out an agreement on 14th July 2021, which was witnessed by the Prime Minister of Armenia and Air Arabia chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Thani. 

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The announcement was made at the signing ceremony of the venture and a press conference at Yerevan’s Zvartnosts Internation Airport. According to the agreement, a new independent joint venture company is set to operate its services from the base at the Avatnots International Airport, Armenian capital Yerevan. The Air Arabia- ANIF partnership basically reflects on the necessity of the low-cost airline service to develop Armenia’s air travel segment to recover faster from the crisis of Covid-19

Boost Armenia’s Fast-Growing Travel

The joint endeavor of the Middle East and North Africa’s largest low-cost carrier operators will foresee the possibilities of strategic vision that will aid the fast-growing travel and tourism sector in Armenia. The travel sector of Armenia made up 11.8% of the country’s GDP in 2019 and created an employment opportunity of 12.5%.

Photo: Air Arabia Airbus A320

There is no doubt the blooming travel sector in the country has opened up the industry’s different economic prospects, so the collaboration of two of the biggest LCC operator could push the travel and tourism industry to greater heights. The venture will also further look into the country’s economic growth and provide the nationalities with reliable and value for money travel options with low-cost carrier packages.

The chief executive officer of the ANIF has huge confidence in the vitality of Air Arabia’s partnership in the project, a well-established track record holder in launching and operating successful LCCs in new countries. The CEO of Air Arabia, Adel Al Ali, also had similar expressions. He confirmed the certainty of the tremendous potential the proposed airline sector would add to the country’s economic and travel & tourism development. 

The value-for-money air travel option that the duo has agreed on is anticipated to improve the air connectivity of the country globe-wide significantly, so the visitors will also be adequate for the low-cost carrier option, not just nationalities.

Current Situation

The aviation sector in Armenia is currently very limited with limited airlines; there are only five airlines in the country, Armenia Aircompany(2 aircraft), Armenia Airways(1 aircraft), Atlantis European Airways(3 aircraft), Fly Armenia Airways(1 aircraft) and Shirak Avia(1 aircraft). With just two airports with scheduled flights, the biggest airport in the country is Zvartnorts International Airport, which has flights to 39 destinations in 18 countries. However, it is not clear whether existing airlines in Armenia will meet the needs of time with a total of just 193,668 passengers carried by air transport in 2019, the population of the residents being under three million margin.

Armenia‘s A319at Munich‘s runway Photo by Moritz

Thus, the partnership with one of the world’s top low-cost airlines has been seen with the optimism to re-define and revolutionize air travel in the country. The practical and realistic approach of the project might be directed at focussing low-cost short-haul flying rather than premium long-haul option right off the bat. The amount of time and investment Armenia is willing to instill in the duo-endeavor is also yet to be seen because if the market is not immediately profitable.

The Naming Poll?

One of the most interesting things about this Air Arabia-ANIF joint venture is how the two major LCC operators have decided to launch an open competition to name the new carrier. The people of Armenia themselves will decide the name of the airline, the open competition which started from the 14th  of this month will last for four weeks, the Armenian nationalities who are willing to take part in the competition can mail the suggested name at which will be taken into consideration by the joint venture. And, after the last date of participation, 14th  August 2021, the board of directors will choose a name from the suggestion and pick a final name for the aliens.

Besides that, further details on the new carrier, its launch date, fleet structure, the destination network, and other details, including the shareholding structure, have yet to be disclosed by the parties involved.

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