Public Procurments: Air Tickets are purchased in the Absence of Competition

On 11 July, the Ministry of Defense has signed a contract with “Aviatour Group” Company on the purchase of 4 tickets in the direction “Yerevan-Vienna-Vilnius” and “Vilnius-Moscow-Yerevan”. For the purchase of the first portion of the air tickets 2 million 440 thousand AMD has been paid (in total of 3.2 million AMD).

The air tickets purchased in the scope of the contract are of economy class and are seemingly inexpensive compared with the market price. However the interesting part about this purchase is the invitation-declaration about the purchase which was sent to airline companies. In the document posted on the website, one can see that the Ministry of Defense has presented concrete demands that the air tickets in the direction of “Yerevan-Vienna-Vilnius’’ must be purchased on 12.07.2016, for the flights “OS 642” and “OS 833” and as for the “Vilnius-Moscow-Yerevan” tickets on 14.07.2016 for the flights “SU 2105” and “SU 1862”.New Picture (2)

So, the party which presents the purchase invitation clearly mentions to buy some exact air tickets therefore pressing the competition. And it is natural that the airline agency which acts in a cleverer manner and manages to book these tickets becomes the winner of the competition. It is also understandable that due this quick-wittedness one airline agency can out compete its opponents by reserving all the possible tickets before the competition is over and cancel all the reservations after the competition is over.

It also turns out that it has become an established practice when a state body creates no chances for a real competitions when publishing the purchase invitation. For example, on August 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a contract with the “L.S Funtour” Company on the purchase of 2 economy class tickets for the flight “Yerevan-Moscow-Sochi”. The tickets for the flights “SU 1861” on 08.08.2016 and “SU 1130” on 09.08.2016 were purchased and 518 thousand AMD was paid.
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Another example: On 12 July, Police signed a contract with “Aviatour Group” and “Trinidad” Companies. From the very beginning the Police had mentioned in the invitation for purchase that 3 economy class plane tickets were needed for the flights of “Yerevan-Moscow, “Sheremetevo-Yerevan and one economy class ticket for Moscow-Yerevan and 2 for Yerevan-Moscow-Yerevan flight, as well as the time of the flights and the Moscow airports were mentioned (one can assume that there are definite flights at definite time from definite airports).

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When investigating the purchases of air tickets, it is notable that there are a lot of such examples. Meanwhile, if the purchase invitation indicate only the directions and the departure-arrival dates for the flights it would create real competition for the airline agencies presenting more suggestions for the price and quality and as a result the state funds would be saved.

Astghik Karapetyan