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The newly appointed head of Armenian Airlines Arsen Avetisian, who met with reporters on Monday said the Yerevan Zvartnots airport will soon have a runway, the only one in the CIS that will allow landings and takes off in any weather conditions. He dismissed allegations that the national carrier was recognized bankrupt.

“It will remain, 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. The company’s current debt is $19 million.

The same day actually a new International Armenian Airlines company was inaugurated. The occasion was to demonstrate the new Airbus A-320 leased form a foreign company. It will be operating flights to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Athens and Dubai. The plane is leased for three years. Head of Multi Group company Gagik Tsarukian, who holds a huge package of shares in the International Armenian Airlines said the new company plans to lease some 3-4 similar planes until next May. He also expressed readiness to pay Armenian Airlines $19 million debt.

Other major shareholders in the new company are Hrayr Hakobian from Armenia and a French Armenian Levon Baghdasarian. The latter is the president of the new company. He said the crew of the Airbus had been re-trained in Europe and is ready to operate flights, the first one, possibly to Dubai. The first flight to Europe, Yerevan-Paris is scheduled for Thursday.

By Ara Martirosian

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