Forget Dubai, Yerevan is center of world

With a population approaching nearly 1.25 million, representing over a third of Armenia’s total population, the capital Yerevan (the 13th in the country’s history) is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, with a history dating back to the 8th century BC. With a skyline dominated by Mount Ararat, the city is served by Zvartnots International Airport, which handled close to 1.7 million annual passengers in 2012, representing nearly 6% growth, writes.

“There is an undeniable growth trend evident, with the airport doubling its traffic in the last decade. This comes despite the loss of Armenian Airlines, when it was taken over by Armavia in 2003, the latter then becoming the nation’s flag carrier, but which subsequently failed itself in March this year. The growth prospects of the airport are therefore borne out by the fact that passenger traffic is only down just over 3% in the first six months of 2013

According to the source, the collapse of Armavia has dramatically altered the airline landscape at Yerevan. “When comparing schedules for this August to those operated in the same week last year, the impact of Armavia’s 83 weekly services is marked – as they represented nearly 40% of all the airport’s flights. The airport has bounced back to some extent, as the drop in weekly frequencies is only 16% lower than 12 months ago. The loss of Armavia has partly been responsible for a surge in new carriers in Yerevan, as the airport has welcomed nine new airlines, including two now in the top 10 – Ukraine International Airlines and Georgian Airlines — in the last year. However, the net number of airlines at the airport has only increased by four (from 27 to 31) as five airlines have stopped flying to Yerevan (three altogether – Armavia, AeroSvit Airlines and Kuban Airlines), including British Airways’ daily Heathrow and Meridiana’s twice-weekly Rome Fiumicino services (replaced by Alitalia in December 2012), both of which were terminated last October.”

The Airline Network News & Analysis (anna) advises to fly via Yerevan to get from Europe to countriees like India, Pakistan, Nepal or China, as it offers a shorter alternative.

“While journey distances from Heathrow via Dubai to destinations like Mumbai, Ahmedabad or Karachi are comparable to those achieved through Yerevan (although the Armenian capital is still better) the variance become increasingly stark when looking at points like Urumqi, Islamabad and Beijing. The average distance to this basket of routes via Dubai is 8,409 kilometres, whereas for Yerevan it is just 7,435 kilometres, representing nearly a 12% saving. has evaluated over 50 airport’s seasonality performance for 2012, and Yerevan has entered the rankings at #38 spot overall, lodging itself between Barcelona and Birmingham.

All Armenia needs now is a global mega-carrier with deep pockets and an insatiable desire to connect the world to set-up a base in Yerevan, the article concludes.

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