- Joe Breitfeller
Azerbaijan Opens Airspace at International Airports to Foreign Carriers
Azerbaijan Airlines announced Friday that the country’s airspace will open to foreign carriers from January 1, 2020. The granting of fifth and seventh freedoms of the air will enable flights from Azerbaijani airports to 40 countries worldwide.
Today, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) announced the opening of the nation’s skies to all airlines. For the first time in the history of Azerbaijan’s civil aviation history, fifth and seventh “freedoms of the air” will be enabled starting January 1, 2020. The new freedoms will enable flights from Azerbaijani airports to 40 countries in Europe, North America, Australia and Southeast Asia. The “fifth freedom” grants foreign airlines the right to depart an airport in their country of origin and then stopover and board/disembark passengers in the signatory nation. For example, European carriers can now operate flights from Paris to Tokyo with a stopover in Baku or any other Azerbaijani airport. The more expansive “seventh freedom” allows airlines to fly between Azerbaijan and other foreign airports without the requirement for an intermediate landing at their home airport. With these rights, a European carrier could, for example, fly from Dubai to Azerbaijan and then onward to the U.S.
Previously, these rights were granted by Azerbaijan to individual airlines on a case-by-case basis, but now all airlines can operate flights to Azerbaijan with all the same rights as the national carrier Azerbaijan Airlines. From January 1, 2020, passengers can be transported from Baku to forty nations without restrictions, including the countries shown in the accompanying chart, which may be expanded in the future.
Another exciting aspect about today’s announcement is that airlines will receive a 100% discount on Azerbaijani airport services during their first year of operation, a 70% discount in year two, a 50% discount in year three and a 30% discount during their fourth year of operation. If airlines increase frequency and passenger traffic, these discount rates may be extended. In Friday’s announcement, Azerbaijan Airlines President, Jahangir Askerov said,
“It is a global decision for the country as a whole. Thanks to President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev’s constant care and attention to civil aviation, all conditions have been created at the country’s international airports for providing services to a large number of foreign airlines. Introduction of the fifth freedoms of air at all international airports of the country will make it possible to expand the geography of flights from Azerbaijan, increase the country’s transport accessibility in the foreign market, as well as to realize the country’s tourism potential and provide competitive offers for passengers. Our citizens will have an opportunity to expand the geography of their travels and reduce travel costs to Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.”
Azerbaijan has six international airports including Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku and airports in Nakhchivan, Ganja, Gabala, Lankaran and Zagatala.
In a separate announcement Friday, Azerbaijan Airlines’ President, Mr. Jahangir Askerov and the Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Sami Asem Ghosheh, agreed to commence service between Baku and Amman, Jordan from May 2020. The twice weekly flights will be operated by Buta Airways with an Embraer 190.
Source: Azerbaijan Airlines