Starting this month, Icelandair will begin operating a limited number of charter flights to transport about 1,000 people from Los Angeles, US to Yerevan, Armenia, RÚV reports.
The initiative is being undertaken in order to repatriate Armenian citizens and residents who have been stranded in the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is a collaboration between Icelandair, the Armenian government, the transportation company Cross Line, and the Icelandic consul in Armenia. Almost a million people of Armenian origin live in and around LA.
Per armeniatourinfo, the charter flights will be open to Armenian citizens, as well as foreign nationals who have the right of permanent residence in Armenia and/or a close relative (spouse, parent, or child) living in the country. Economy class tickets will be priced at $1,350 (ISK 189,000/€1,200).
The exact number of flights has not been set yet, but the first will depart from LA on July 11. Each flight can accommodate 260 passengers and will be staffed with 9-12 crew members, according to Icelandair’s current operating procedures: two to three pilots and six flight attendants.
Icelandair CEO Bogi Nils Bogason remarked that the contract is a welcome addition to the airline’s cargo flights from China to Europe and North America: “Projects like this bring this company increased revenue and create work for employees, as the preparations and organisation take place in Iceland. This is a good example of the flexibility that Icelandair and its subsidiaries have to take on short notice.”