YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — After months of negotiations with the Armenian government, the Irish budget airline Ryanair announced on Wednesday, October 16 that it will launch flights between Europe and Armenia in January.
The company said it will initially fly from Yerevan to Milan and Rome four times a week. It pledged to open two more routes next summer: from Yerevan to Berlin and from Gyumri to the southern German city of Memmingen.
“These four new routes will further promote Armenian tourism, and will deliver over 130,000 customers annually to/from two European countries to one of Europe’s fastest-growing tourism destinations,” said David O’Brien, Ryanair’s chief commercial officer.
“We can service from 86 different cities and airports, whereas our competitors offer far less opportunity for Armenia,” O’Brien told a joint news conference with Tatevik Revazian, the head of the Armenian government’s Civil Aviation Committee, held at Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport.
Revazian negotiated with Ryanair representatives in Dublin early this year before announcing in March that Ryanair is considering becoming the world’s first budget airline to fly to Armenia. She said in July that the Irish carrier is seeking financial concessions from the Armenian side for that purpose.
Revazian said that the Civil Aviation Committee has drafted a bill that would exempt Ryanair from a fixed $21 tax levied from every air ticket sold in the country. She was confident that the government will approve the bill and send it to the Armenian parliament next month.