Yerevan Airport better located than Dubai; Transaero launches Vnukovo link last week

This March’s collapse of Armavia, Armenia’s flag carrier, left plenty of stranded passengers at its main base at the capital city airport Yerevan Zvartnots International.

This March’s collapse of Armavia, Armenia’s flag carrier, left plenty of stranded passengers at its main base at the capital city airport Yerevan Zvartnots International. Despite the loss of its main carrier, which operated 40% of flights, the airport’s traffic is only down 3% in the first six months of 2013.

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.

Yerevan Zvartnots Airport 2002-2012 Annual passengers (millions) and year-on-year growth

Source: Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport

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.

S7 now market leader after Armavia’s exit

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.

Yerevan Zvartnots Airport Top 10 Airlines Share of weekly flight and weekly capacity

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi 10-16 August

The top 10 airlines represent over 70% of all flying at Yerevan, with all of them showing year-on-year frequency growth. Leading the annual growth table is flydubai, which has grown by 133% in the last 12 months, with Transaero Airlines not far behind, adding a daily Moscow Vnukovo service this week to its existing daily Moscow Domodedovo operation.

SVID’s appraisal of Zvartnots is “good”

Entering Yerevan’s monthly passenger data for 2012 into’s Seasonal Variation in Demand (SVID) calculator, the airport performs well, producing a score of 6.25, giving it a “good” rating. Against its airport peer from the region Tbilisi, its 2012 score is marginally better than the Georgian capital city (6.56 – good). However, when compared to Armenia’s second largest airport, Shirak International, serving Gyumri in the north-west of the country, it performs worse than the 70,000 annual passenger facility, which scores 3.72, but still only a “good” result. Since we started doing SVID scores, has now evaluated over 50 airport’s seasonality performance for 2012, and Yerevan has entered the rankings at #38 spot overall, lodging itself between Barcelona (5.4) and Birmingham (7.33).

SVID Calculator - Yerevan International Airport  Seasonal Variation in Demand factor

Source: Individual Airports

Forget Dubai (again), Yerevan is centre of world (but not as good as Baku)!

Most of us have done it — used a MEB3 hub to get from Europe to countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal or China. But the reality is that flying via Yerevan offers a shorter alternative than hubbing through one of these better known airports. This something which discovered last year, when we looked at Baku in Azerbaijan.

Route To Total Flown Km Total Flown Km
From Via Dubai Via Yerevan % reduction via EVN
London Delhi 7,696 6,893 -10%
Mumbai 7,436 7,229 -3%
Amritsar 7,538 6,527 -13%
Ahmedabad 7,279 6,903 -5%
Islamabad 7,459 6,291 -16%
Lahore 7,496 6,504 -13%
Karachi 6,699 6,356 -5%
Kathmandu 8,506 7,637 -10%
Beijing 11,352 9,617 -15%
Shanghai 11,971 10,509 -12%
Urumqi 9,073 7,314 -19%
Source: Flight distances from Great Circle Mapper

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. However, when comparing the average distances of the Armenian capital to the Azerbaijani capital (just over 480 kilometres away), Baku narrowly beats it neighbour by just 78 kilometres. 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.


  1. Private says:

    How about comparing the position against that of Istanbul Ataturk, IST? Turklish Airlines is already trying to do a mega hub, compete against Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Doha/Muscat type thing.

    I do like EVN. Nice modern terminal with friendly people. Felt rather quite though…

    That was in the good old days of bmi though.

    • Marc Watkins says:

      We may well do that!! But for TK it is more about the fact they can use narrow-body aircraft to serve Europe and Africa into IST…and then onto long-haul, rather than wide-body to wide-body that you have to do via DXB/DOH/AUH

    • Ara says:

      Comparing EVN to IST – almost the same on the routes mentioned in the table above. But EVN is more centrally positioned

  2. Reader says:

    Yerevan can provide advantage for only on Europe-Asia routes. Geographically, it cannot compete with MEB3 and Istanbul on African/American destinations, thus cannot be a major hub in near future.

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