Armenian investigative website Hetq claims it has evidence Armenian Airlines (JI, Yerevan) has ties to Russian tour operator Pegas Turistik, which also controls Nordwind Airlines, Ikar (Russian Federation), and Southwind Airlines.
The Armenian start-up was founded by Ararat Sargsyan, who, until January 2023, was also the company’s sole shareholder. Sargsyan also owns Alliance Air (Armenia), a company founded in 2014 which never began operations as an airline but remains the GSA of Nordwind Airlines in Armenia.
Sargsyan is said to have sold off a total 90% stake to Mikhail Asriyan (19%), the founder of Pegas Turistik’s Armenian affiliate Arion Tour, Bulgarian citizen Rosen Boyanov (24%), who owns the Ukrainian travel agency PGS Travel and who used to be the marketing director of Pegas Turistik, and Swiss citizen Oz Yakupkhanogullarindan, a member of the Board of Directors of Pegas Turistik, with a 25% stake.
Hermine Hovhannisyan, an Armenian citizen without direct links to Pegas Turistik, owns the remaining 22% stake. Thus, Armenian Airlines remains 51%-owned by citizens of Armenia, meeting the requisite control and ownership threshold.
The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that Armenian Airlines currently operates two A321-200s. One of them, EK-AAB (msn 3106) on lease from Thunderbolt Aircraft Lease, was transferred from Nordwind Airlines.
Armenian Airlines did not respond to ch-aviation’s request for comment.
Pegas Turistik was recently sanctioned by the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for violating a US embargo on Nordwind Airlines, although it was then taken off the sanctions list for procedural reasons.