Armenia’s ‘unsafe’ Taron-Avia ceases operations

Taron-Avia Taron-Avia operated scheduled flights to Moscow, Samara and Krasnodar using Boeing 737-500s (Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons)

Taron-Avia Airlines has ceased operations, Armenia’s Civil Aviation Committee has revealed. The decision comes after the country’s aviation authorities revoked the airline’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), which was previously suspended following an inspection that revealed operational deficiencies.

“As a result of inspections conducted at Taron-Avia, which registered shortcomings, the airline’s AOC was suspended. The airline was given a six-month period to rectify the flaws, but the airline [instead] took the decision to cease operations. With regard to this, the licence number 049 for aircraft operations has now been revoked,” the committee’s November 6 official statement reads.

Taron-Avia primarily operated flights between Armenia and Russia – from its Yerevan capital to Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, from Gyumri to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport and to Samara and Krasnodar. In January 2018, the airline suspended flights to Russia because of insufficient demand for the service during the winter period. Taron-Avia’s management also complained about ‘impossible’ competition from Russian low-cost carrier Pobeda Airlines on routes from Gyumri.

The privately owned Taron-Avia was first registered as a freight carrier in 2007 and announced plans to launch scheduled passenger services in 2015. At that time Garnik Papikyan, the airline’s general director, told Russian Aviation Insider that Russia would be the airline’s priority destination. However the airline didn’t commence commercial operations until the fourth quarter of 2017. Commenting on the market environment under the open-skies policy created by Armenia’s government in 2013, Papikyan stressed: “Frankly speaking, our authorities have made the biggest mistake that can ever be made in the commercial aviation industry. We’ll continue fighting for [our share of] the market using my private investments – we won’t get any state subsidies.”

Following the statement regarding the airline’s demise, Russian Aviation Insider attempted to contact Garnik Papikyan for a comment on the reasons that forced the airline to finally leave the market. However he was not available. Taron-Avia’s Moscow office also left the questions unanswered.

Taron-Avia operated four ageing Boeing 737-500s.

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