Zvartnots International Airport (Armenian: Զվարթնոց Միջազգային Օդանավակայան Zvart'nots' Mijazgayin Odanavakayan) (IATA: EVN, ICAO: UDYZ) is located near Zvartnots, 10 km (6.2 mi) west of Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. The airport was built in 1961. It is now the busiest airport in Armenia and the Caucasus. The draftsmen of the airport included architects M. Khachikyan, A. Tarkhanyan, J. Sheqhlyan, L. Cherkezyan and designers H. Tigranyan, A. Meschyan, and constructor M. Baghdasaryan. The airport was renovated in the 1980s with the development of a new terminal area, in order to meet domestic traffic demands within the Soviet Union.
When Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the considerable growth of cargo shipments resulted in the construction of a new cargo terminal in 1998, with modern technical equipment that can handle about 100,000 tons of cargo annually.
In 2001, a 30-year concession agreement for the management of operations at the airport was signed with Armenia International Airports CJSC, owned by Argentine American company Corporation America, which is in turn owned by Armenian Argentine businessman Eduardo Eurnekian. As part of that agreement, Armenia International Airports CJSC committed itself to renovate and expand the airport in order for it to become a vital link for tourism and commerce between Asia and Europe, as well as to modernize its facilities and services.
As part of those commitments, renovation and expansion work began in 2004, culminating in the opening of a new international terminal on June 1, 2007, after 40 months of work. Yet another terminal is going to be built, housing passenger check-in counters and customs control. It is planned to open in November 2011.
In 2006, Zvartnots airport handled a total of 1,125,698 passengers, representing an increase of 1.3% over the previous year.
In 2007, that number grew to 1,387,002 passengers, a 23.2% increase over the previous year. In 2008 the total number of passengers grew to 1.48 million.
Currently, the airport's manager is Juan Pablo Guechigian.
Recent and ongoing expansion
In 2004, the construction of a new international terminal began, at a cost of USD$100 million. It covers an area of 19,200 m (207,000 sq ft) and can handle 2 million passengers a year. The building of this terminal is part of the 30-year concession agreement signed by the Armenian Government and Armenia International Airports.
On September 14, 2006 the newly built arrivals hall was opened. The new international terminal with its departures section was opened on June 1, 2007.
An additional investment of USD$100 million will be carried out until 2010. Improvements at Zvartnots will involve a total investment of €164 million for the next 30 years. Armenia International Airports CJSC has already allocated over €70 million to the first phase, which included a 19,200 m (207,000 sq ft) extension of the premises and a refurbishment of around 45,000 m (480,000 sq ft).
Now that the first phase is complete, the airport boasts a 54,000 m (580,000 sq ft) runway and 45,000 m (480,000 sq ft) of building, of which the new terminal occupies 25,000 m (270,000 sq ft) area. In order to adapt to the forthcoming increase in visitors, new parking has been created, with capacity for 1,000 vehicles. Many international airlines now operate from Zvartnots, connecting Yerevan to the world's most important cities, including Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Dubai, İstanbul, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Tehran, Vienna, Warsaw & Zurich. Altogether around 60 routes will be scheduled to fly from Zvartnots.
In addition, the company has focused on improving visitor's comfort within the terminal. The arrival hall capacity has been doubled to reach a volume of over 1,000 passengers per hour, and passenger management will be streamlined thanks to a substantial expansion of the customs. Finally, the airport's waiting areas and passenger service areas have been extensively renovated, with availability of Wi-Fi, together with the enhancement of the duty-free shops and restaurants. Navigation systems installed at the airport provide the meteorological minimas of 30x350m for landing, which corresponds to the ICAO 2nd class.
In the spring of 2008, the construction of a new passenger terminal began, in order to supplement the existing concourse. The completion of the project is expected in 2011. The new passenger terminal, occupying 52,000 m (560,000 sq ft), will double the number of passenger check-in counters and security control points. A new underground parking lot will be built, with a parking area for more than 800 cars. When this terminal is accomplished, “Zvartnots” International Airport will become a leader among airports in the South Caucasus. It will be able to serve 3.2 million passengers annually. The entire project will cost $173 million, part of which is on loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In order to comply with the international air regulations, Armenia International Airports has made a great effort to improve security at Zvartnots. Amongst other measures, 150 surveillance cameras have been installed at the airport, both inside the buildings and in open spaces.
The modernization effort has been significant, including the implementation of an innovative flight information display system (FIDS) as well as a new automated and biometric-identification system for baggage check-in and passenger control. All buildings are now also equipped with free Wi-Fi Internet connection.
Airlines and destinations
Note: † denotes charter airlines and their destinations
Access to airport
Bus #201 connects the airport with the crossroads of Sayat-Nova and Mashtots streets in Yerevan. Bus #108 also connects the city center with the airport.
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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