Tuesday, June 7, 2011

AZAL to Belgrade

Air Service Agreement to be signed tomorrow
The Azerbaijani national carrier, AZAL Airlines, is a step closer to commencing services to Belgrade. Several months ago it was reported that the airline of this oil rich Caucus state was interested in commencing flights to Zurich via Belgrade from its hub in Baku in cooperation with Jat Airways. Tomorrow, the President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliev, as well as the country’s Prime Minister and the representative of the Azerbaijani Parliament will visit Belgrade on a 2 day official state visit. Over 20 bilateral agreements will be signed, one of which is an Air Service Agreement, opening the doors for AZAL to commence flights to the Serbian capital. The airline plans to fly from Baku to Zurich via Belgrade so as to make the service more viable. The airline would be granted fifth freedom rights, allowing passengers to book tickets on the Belgrade – Zurich – Belgrade sector as well. It is believed that Jat could play a minor role by code sharing on this service. The flights were initially proposed by the Serbian – Azeri Chamber of Commerce as the two governments look to substantially increase economic cooperation and joint projects. A bilateral tourism agreement will also be inked during the state visit, which intends to increase tourist traffic between the two countries. The flights are proposed to commence during the 2011/2012 winter season, which begins in late October and ends at the end of March.

AZAL Airlines is looking to rapidly expand over the next few years. Just a few days ago the airline received a brand new Boeing 767-300ER jet and another 3 are set to arrive by next year. The airline also has aspirations to begin flights to the United States and will become the first former Soviet state to operate the Boeing 787 Dremaliner in 2014. AZAL is also expanding its European destination network, introducing flights to Kiev and Amsterdam this summer. A new multi million Euro terminal is currently under construction at Baku’s Heydar Aliev Airport. The country is anticipating a massive increase in tourism next May when it hosts the world’s biggest television event – the Eurovision Song Contest.


  1. I don't quite understand why we grant fifth freedom for flights to such a profitable destination such as Zurich? This reminds me of the short-lived Uzbekistan JFK flights...

  2. Bravo bravo go ahead!!! Great News...

  3. There's absolutely zero demand between these two countries. Also, aren't you exaggerating just a bit when you claim the world's biggest television event? lol

  4. "World's biggest television event - the Eurovision song contest" - WHAT?!

  5. ^So more than 2 billion people watch that sad, sorry piece of sh!t excuse for 'music'? I don't think so. The average football world cup final attracts around 2 billion viewers. Nothing else is even close.

  6. 2 the last three anonymous: really?! This is what you're gonna focus your attention on?! The sentence about "the worlds biggest TV event"? Pathetic!

  7. I personally know more and more people travelling to Belarus, Azerbeijan and Kazakhstan, dominantlly from agri-business. They are percieved like new markets.

    Anyway, as far as I know AZAL cannot for some reason to obtain clearance from swiss authorities for direct flights. Like for most of ex-Soviet countries, Swiss is top destination. Hence, this is the way to skip over that problem. I think none should be surprised if such a flight is fully packed, assuming BEG almost like tech stop.

  8. I think we should wait and see what kind of timings we get in the end.
    Azal can offer connections to Tehran which does have some sort of demand. Until now the normal only way to travel to Iran is via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines.

    It's good that they gave them 5th freedom. It's always good to see more competition on the route, brings down the prices.
    On a side note there is growing demand for travelling to Baku. A friend of mine whose brother works in their embassy in Belgrade (they are Azeris), told me that this is a very much needed route that will see a lot of business travellers- and we all know what all airlines love the most.

    As always let's wait and see. I expect this route to be operated twice per week, maximun three times.

  9. Wow, I applaud this decision, especially since, it can offer good connections in perspective to the ex soviet union (especially now since Aerosvit backed out, well even though not definitely).
    The cooperation between Azerbaijan and Serbia is getting bigger and bigger on a economic scale, and the cultural coop is also very active (opening of the embassies in Belgrade and Baku), donation for the Tašmajdan park by Azerbaijan, and also the opening of the Azeri cultural center in Belgrade (on Terazije btw :))
    So, I hope that this route will succeed, even though I maybe wouldnt be able to use it at least with this passport since i have an NKR visa in it hahahah

    And I also applaud the giving of the fifth freedom rights to Azal insted of a "certain" neighboring company. ;))

  10. Sorry for the OT, but why does the MIAT mongolian airplane, thats livery of the week in exyuaviation have JU-1011... does it have something to do with yugoslavia, serbia?

  11. To all those who were mocking the Chicago - Belgrade flights... June 24th is BOOKED , I WAS RIGHT>
    I just tried to purchase tickets on that flight from AirPlus, it is booked... im flying on inagural flight guys, cannot wait to show you pictures and videos :)

  12. yes...bigger than the World Cup, Olympics, and your backyard Brena concert...oh and Azerbaijan is the new asian tiger, watch out Signapore there is a new economic juggernaut on stage (next to Brena)!

  13. One of the ugliest liveries around. Watch out MAT Airways!

  14. @Aca

    Nothing really like it, the flights with HY (Ozbekiston Airways) routed via Belgrade in a codeshare with JAT for New York services. The point was that the flight had to stop in Europe so Belgrade seemed a good choice since the demand was there. Although JAT pulled out of the agreenment because they wanted to start their own services to New York at the time. They didn't eventuate and HY changed from Belgrade to the baltic Riga for flights to New York instead. I traveld to Belgrade on the services to JFK when it was around and the flights were decently loaded from both TAS and BEG, in each direction.

    Although these Azeri services make little sense besides possible connections onwards from Baku if possible.

  15. as if the Serbians are dying to visit Azerbaijan.

  16. @Last Anonymous

    Ever thought that some Azeri's might want to comet to Serbia?

  17. Last anonymous,

    Because so many Serbs were dying to see Riga?
    There are more reasons to launch a route then the simple O&D demand.

    Plus as stated above this route will see a lot of business passengers so..

  18. haha what a dreamteam koryo and nemjee

    no need to coment your stuff

    dream on

  19. Excuse me but do you have some chemical imbalance in your head? Read properly what is written in the posts.
    As I said, if airBaltic managed to make Riga-Belgrade-Riga work then there is no reason Baku-Zurich-Baku via Belgrade can not work. Not to mention that there is going to be original demand to Zurich which will enable Belgrade to develop in time. Currently only Turkish Airlines offers decent connections to Central Asia. If you didn't know, which I can see you didn't, there are a lot of Serbs and Yugoslavs in general working in both Iran and Kazakhstan.
    Do you think that Turkish Airlines is adding flights to Belgrade because their loadfactors are bad? No! It is because the demand is on the rise. There is a reason why this flight is introduced and why it took so long to get the green light.

    To conclude, thank you for not replying to our posts, you will spare us from silly answers and comments.

  20. Well, um Aeroflot has been operating into Belgrade for ever and a day, they operate an extensive network into central asia. I think there has ALWAYS been a right means of connections into the the Central Asian republics both now and in the past when Aeroflot was THEIR national carrier too.

    It won't be hard to fill an A319/A320 from Baku to Zurich via Belgrade around 3 or 4 times per week.

  21. Yes, I am aware that Aeroflot has been flying to Belgrade for a long time with a healthy amount of frequencies, however if you look at a map and you take for example Belgrade-Moscow-Almaty it will not be as direct as via Kiev, Baku or Istanbul.
    That is what I am trying to say.

  22. @nemjee

    Last time I checked SVO has atleast 10 times the connections to Almaty than Istanbul, Baku or Kiev. As for being closer, SVO is much closer to Almaty and the central asia than Istanbul is, plus the overall distance via SVO is only 100km more than Istanbul. I'd like to think people would be visiting Astana/Tselinogrod rather than Almaty due to it being the capital and economic heart of the regeion outside of Moscow.

    I'd guess The Azeris just want to offer additional options and will work against the likes of SU and TK.

  23. Yes, I know that however all that I am saying is that you would need to travel all the way to the north (to Moscow) and the come down to Central Asia where as via Baku it will be more direct.
    Naturally I doubt that anyone can compete with both the product and the timetable of Aeroflot when it comes to C.Asian routes however Turkish Airlines is developping fast in that region.

    Naturally, all competition is more than welcome at Belgrade and the more airlines we have the better.

  24. @Nemjee

    It's not that far north, Istanbul and Moscow to Almaty is only 100km diffrence. Turkish Airlines can grow all they like, but you can't compare with Aeroflot or the Russian carriers into central asia, it is impossible. But back to the actual airline we are talking about, Azerbaijan Airlines doesn't even fly to Almaty or Astana. I think the only potential onward connections would be to Tehran and Uramuqi in China! And in all honestly how many people would even travel there form Belgrade and if so Tehran would be easily served by Istanbul.

    Baku will be served by Belgrade and Zurich and likewise for Belgrade on this route.

  25. i also want to add: lepa brena

  26. @Anonymous

    What the heck is that? Do you suffer from a retardation?


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