On November 3, 2011, the government adopted the Strategic Plan for Transport Infrastructure of the Zvartnots International Airport, International Logistic Center and Free Economic Zone in the adjacent area. The necessity to build the railway line was substantiated in the plant, as well as the financial source was mentioned.
On May 4, 2012, a trilateral memorandum was signed between the Ministry of Transport and Communication of the Republic of Armenia, the “South Caucasus Railways” and the “Armenia International Airports” on the construction of a railway connecting the Zvartnots airport and the Yerevan subway.
Implementation of the project would allow to connect the passenger terminal of the Zvartnots International Airport to the “Charbakh” metro station through a railway, and the cargo terminal to the “Karmir Blur” station of the railway.
The length of the railway was supposed to be 7.8 km, 5.35 out of which would be a newly constructed section. Construction of an 810 meter-long tunnel was also envisaged by the plan. The total construction period was supposed to be one year and end in 2013.
The need for the railway
It was envisaged that the new building would be able serve 3 million passengers a year instead of the previous 1.6 million after the end of construction of the new passenger terminal of the Zvartnots International Airport.
“Under conditions of such passenger turnover and freight turnover, as well as taking into consideration the necessity to connect Zvartnots International Airport to the republic’s highways and the North-South road corridor through bypass roads, the expediency of building a new railroad and highway is obvious,” the plan says.
In 2011, the government predicted that the GDP in 2012-2013 will return to the same index as in 2007, which will supposedly coincide with the opening of the international logistics center at Zvartnots.
“At the final development stage of the center, annual freight volumes for the future have been estimated at about 0.525 million tons per year. In addition to the container terminal, the initial estimated potential capacity has been estimated to be about 0.450 million tons annually,” the plan says.
The financial source
Construction of a new highway and railway to Zvartnots international airport was planned to be implemented at the expense of public-private partnership funds. The main beneficiaries of the projects are the concessionaire of Zvartnots International Airport, South Caucasus Railway CJSC, the operator of the Logistics Center and others.
Usually when speaking about an unfulfilled program, state agencies report that the latter is in the “design-cost estimation” phase. In response to our inquiry addressed to the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies regarding this program, the latter informed that the ministry does not have design and cost estimation documentation.
It should be noted that according to the information posted on the website of the ministry, the development of the design and cost estimation documentation for the construction and reconstruction of the railway was implemented by “TransProject” CJSC.
Moreover, we have obtained the scheme of the planned railway line by using open sources.
Besides, according to calculations in the strategic plan drawn up in 2011, the value of the construction of the railway, without taking into consideration the amount required for the land acquisition, was about $ 5 million.
And despite the fact that in 2011 “the construction of a new railroad was expedient” for the Ministry of Transport, we can state that the Ministry has not taken steps to implement this apparently necessary project for years, and in fact does not even have the project design and cost estimation documentation.
It should be added that the Ministry of Transport announced on the eve of 2013 presidential elections that a bus production plant would be established in Armenia during the coming 1-2 months. This program has not been implemented either.