Armavia has one flight per week from Beirut to Yerevan. The rate fluctuates between US$650-800 according to the load.
Some travel agents in Beirut are furious about the very high rate. “With this rate you can reach as far as London”, one agent said. “With this rate you can go to Pafos in Cyprus on a charter flight and stay there for several nights all inclusive”.
Middle East Airlines (MEA) does not fly to Yerevan.
When asked why charter flights do not operate to Yerevan, a travel agent said that the landing fees in Zvartnots airport are artificially inflated so that no charter company will dare to challenge Armavia. “If they allow you to operate a charter flight they will be asking a kick back in advance. The charter business is already a risky business with low profit margin, so it ends up that nobody has even motivation to bribe Zvartnots officials”, an agent explained.
Armavia knows that Lebanese clients are not any more able to use the land transport to Aleppo to get cheaper flights from there to Yerevan. Land movement is dangerous because of the Syrian political crisis.
“This is the best time for Armavia to make money out of the Armenians in the Middle East”, said a traveler in despair. “I am not a tourist and I need to go to Yerevan for a personal issue. As a tourist I have so many choices, why should I choose a place that does not respect me as a client?”, she elaborated.
No wonder why Armavia is known in Beirut as Armafia.
Note: None of the persons we talked with agreed to disclose their names fearing that it might hurt their business.