Fly Arna’s launch network will link Armenia’s capital Yerevan with destinations in Egypt and Lebanon once commercial operations begin in July.
The startup, a joint venture between the Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF) and Air Arabia Group, unveiled its launch plans after taking delivery of its first aircraft: an Airbus A320-200 with 174 seats.
The airline’s first route will take off from Zvartnots International (EVN) on July 3 to Hurghada International (HRG) in Egypt. Flights will be operated twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays.
A second route begins a day later, connecting EVN with Sharm El Sheikh (SSH) three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Fly Arna’s third route is scheduled to open on July 5 between EVN and Beirut (BEY), subject to government approval. Three flights per week are planned on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Air Arabia CEO Adel Al Ali said the launch of the carrier is the first step towards a “new era for Armenia’s aviation sector.” He added: “Fly Arna will offer its customers value-added air travel services while contributing significant value to the economy by boosting the tourism, hospitality, and business sectors.”
United Arab Emirates-based LCC Air Arabia holds a 49% stake in the new airline, while ANIF has a majority 51% share.
Armenia, a landlocked nation in the Caucasus, has been without a national carrier since Armavia collapsed in 2013. Prior to that, Armenian Airlines, a 1992 spin-off from Aeroflot following the collapse of the Soviet Union, was made bankrupt in 2003.
With a population of three million, the country’s aviation market had been growing steadily prior to the pandemic. Data provided OAG Schedules Analyser reveals that the number of departure seats totalled 1.98 million in 2019—a rise of 7.3% on the previous 12 months. This followed year-on-year growth of 15.1% in 2018 and 23.5% in 2017.
For June 2022, OAG figures show that 131,000 departure seats are available, compared with 170,000 during the same month in 2019.