Armenia is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region, and you can travel to this fascinating destination by obtaining an airplane ticket. It is located in the south of mountains, where Armenia is. This country is comparable in size to Belgium but has a much smaller population (3 million people). Armenia used to have relatively few tourists, but in recent years, the number of tourists has significantly increased. Based on this trend, it is predicted that the number of tourists will continue to grow and change in the next two years. Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world, and for this reason, it is home to numerous historical sites. Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is an excellent travel destination in Europe. In the center of this city, you will find beautiful buildings with modern designs. Another aspect that has received attention in Armenia is its airports. In this article, we will explore the airports of Armenia and introduce them to you.
Zvartnots International Airport
Zvartnots International Airport is one of the best airports in Armenia, located 15 kilometers west of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. It serves as the main international airport in Armenia and is the primary hub for international transportation in Yerevan. Zvartnots Airport is one of the busiest airports in Armenia.
The airport was opened in 1961 and underwent renovation in the 1980s with the development of a new terminal area to meet the increasing domestic demand for air traffic within the Soviet Union. When Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the growth in cargo shipments led to the construction of a new cargo terminal in 1998, capable of handling approximately 100,000 tons of cargo annually.
Zvartnots Airport has the capacity to accommodate various types of aircraft, including the Antonov An-225, Boeing 747-400, and Airbus A380. Recently, the airport has implemented a new Flight Information Display System (FIDS), a new automated and biometric identification system for baggage check and passenger control, as well as the installation of 150 surveillance cameras throughout the airport.
In December 2019, the annual passenger traffic at Zvartnots International Airport exceeded 3 million passengers for the first time in Armenian history. In the following sections, we will introduce other airports in Armenia.
The second airport among Armenia’s airports is Shirak Airport. Shirak Airport was opened in 1961 and is the country’s second-largest airport after Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan. The airport terminal was built in 1982 by architects Levon Khristoforyan and Ruben Asratyan. However, after the earthquake in 1988, the airport was largely out of service and practically unused until a portion of it underwent reconstruction in 2004.
In the beginning of 2006, Armenia felt the need for a second airport as unfavorable weather conditions often redirected many flights from Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan to Shirak Airport in Gyumri. New radar systems capable of aircraft detection within a radius of 400 kilometers were installed in 2006. In 2007, the main runway was reconstructed and fully asphalted. Since then, a new Finnish IDMAN signal system has been installed, repairs have been made on sloping surfaces, and specialized ground transportation equipment has been introduced. In 2007, the Civil Aviation Administration of Armenia granted Shirak Airport a Class I ICAO airport license.
Currently, a new passenger hall is under construction and is expected to open in June 2021. The airport is also equipped with a new air traffic control tower and a new VIP lounge, both of which have been renovated as part of a reconstruction project. The airport also features a duty-free shop operated by Dufry.
Syunik Airport is the third airport among Armenia’s airports. Located 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) east of Kapan, the sixth-largest city in Armenia and the largest city in the Syunik Province, Syunik Airport serves as an important transportation hub. On December 5, 2020, the National Aviation Committee of Armenia announced the completion of the airport’s reconstruction, and flights between Kapan and Yerevan are set to commence in the near future.
Compared to a five-hour drive, Syunik Airport will provide the convenience of travel between Kapan and Yerevan in just 40 minutes, making it one of the busiest airports in Armenia. It will also serve other communities in southern Armenia. The airport initially began as an airstrip in the 1940s, with occasional flights operated by Soviet Antonov 2 aircraft. However, it was officially opened for scheduled flights in 1972. In July 1971, it was decided that the city of Kapan would require a flight connection to the capital, Yerevan. However, due to the challenging location of Kapan, which was deemed highly dangerous, the entire project was canceled.
After negotiations with Soviet authorities and the Communist Party, it was agreed to send an Ilyushin Il-14 aircraft for the airfield’s testing purposes. In the following months, minor changes were made to the airport’s runway and radio equipment was installed, thus making it operational as one of the main airports in Armenia, meeting higher safety standards. In the mid-1972, scheduled services between Yerevan and Kapan were initiated, with all flights operated by Yak-40 aircraft.
The operations at Kapan Airport were quite challenging as the published approach required aircraft to fly over the Voghji River Valley, descend below the clouds, make a left turn, and land on the runway. However, this obstacle did not hinder operations, and Kapan Airport witnessed even 10-12 daily flights at times. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the subsequent Nagorno-Karabakh War, Kapan Airport fell into disrepair. After the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the airport remains on the Armenian side, but it is closer to the border that separates Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.