YEREVAN, April 16. /ARKA/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said today that two criminal cases have been launched into the developments involving two Armenia-registered airlines whose licenses to operate flights to Europe had been suspended earlier this month by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Pashinyan said some senior officials at the Civil Aviation Committee had been sacked as a result. Speaking at a parliament Q&A session, Pashinyan said in 2019, several Armenian airlines had been involved in the illegal trafficking of weapons and ammunition in Africa, which was used by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as a reason to revoke their licenses.
Pashinyan said the European Aviation Safety Agency concluded that Armenia’s Civil Aviation Committee was unable to effectively oversee the activities of Armenian airlines.
According to him, in 2019 autumn, the EASA conducted an audit at one of the Armenian airlines and issued t a warning about the discovered violations, but one of the officials of the Civil Aviation Committee failed to convey the report to the Committee’s chairperson.
Pashinyan said the head of the Committee became aware of the warning only two months later when she met with European colleagues during a conference. ‘Of course, the official was dismissed, but a few days later he joined the company where the violations were discovered,” Pashinyan said.
Pashinyan said that the largest mistake of the Committee is that contrary to international practice, licenses to airlines registered in Armenia are still issued free of charge.
He said one of the possible ways out of the situation is changing the status of the Committee and making it a self-financing body that in turn will enable it to engage experts and exercise its influence.
On April 14, the head of the Civil Aviation Committee, Tatevik Revazyan, said it will commission a team of independent experts to help identify and solve problems in Armenia’s civil aviation sector. — 0–