Start-up airline Fly Arna pushes network expansion: report

Having recently launched commercial flights, the new Armenian low-cost carrier Fly Arna is working on expanding its business. The newcomer aims to lease its second Airbus A320 passenger aircraft as part of plans for a gradual network expansion. 

Fly Arna, which officially launched operations with its first passenger flight to Hurghada International Airport (HRG) in Egypt on July 3, 2022, is now focused on fleet expansion, the company tells local media.  

The air carrier, which currently has only a single 6.9 year-old 174-seat Airbus A320-200 jet in its fleet, is in talks with aircraft lessors on a lease agreement for the second plane of the type, Fly Arna spokesperson Gayane Antonyan confirmed in an interview with Armen Press on August 8, 2022. 

The new national carrier of Armenia currently operates only two leisure destinations, Hurghada (HRG) and Sharm El-Sheikh (SSH) in Egypt, but Beirut (BEY) and Kuwait (KWI) are routes on Fly Arna’s radar. The airline operates from its home base at Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport (EVN).  

A joint venture between the Armenian National Interests Fund and Air Arabia Group revealed the name for a new Armenian national airline.  

“As the new national carrier of Armenia, from the very beginning we had the goal of connecting Armenia with various countries and cities across the world and we are committed to this path. Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh are maiden flights. We will not be limited to these destinations,” Antonyan was cited as saying. “We are now negotiating with all stakeholder parties to swiftly acquire the flight permits for Beirut and Kuwait and finalize our preparations for flying in these directions.” 

However, the start-up airline, which was founded as a joint venture between the Armenian government-owned investment fund ANIF and United Arab Emirates’ low-cost carrier Air Arabia Group in July 2021, is not allowed to fly to any destinations in Europe currently. This is because airlines registered in Armenia have been blacklisted by the EU aviation authorities since June 2020 for failing to meet international aviation safety standards. 

“We, being a joint enterprise of ANIF and Air Arabia, are closely cooperating with the Armenian civil aviation committee and attempting to introduce its international experience in improving flight standards and aviation safety,” the spokesperson explained.