Monday, October 15, 2012

AZAL considering US flights via Belgrade

Potential AZAL - Jat partnership on US flights

The national carrier of Azerbaijan, AZAL, is considering launching flights to the United States via Belgrade in cooperation with Jat Airways, Serbia’s Ambassador to the Caucus nation, Zoran Vajović, confirms. Talks between the two airlines regarding possible flights to the United States have been ongoing for the past several months. “Since last year Jat Airways and AZAL have been negotiating the launch of joint flights from Baku to the United States via Belgrade. Talks have also been taking place regarding other joint flights and cooperation”, Vajović says. The flights would operate similar to those in 2004 when Uzbekistan Airways ran services from Tashkent to New York City via the Serbian capital.

Two weeks ago Azerbaijan and the United States began talks on finalising an Open Sky Agreement between the two countries. AZAL plans to launch flights to the US during the 2013 summer season. On the other hand, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is about to begin its review of Serbia’s categorisation. The procedure may take three to six months to complete and involves a visit by FAA officials to Serbia to inspect safety and other aviation standards. The country was downgraded by the FAA in 2004 on “regulatory shortcomings” and for failing to meet FAA criteria, thus unabling flights between the two nations. It is expected that Serbia will be granted a category one rating this time around.

Sources close to Jat have confirmed that talks with AZAL have been taking place, as recently as two weeks ago in Baku. In preparation for Serbia’s upgrade to the category one rating by the FAA, Jat is looking for a partner to operate the flights to the US since it is unable to do so itself. Serbia and Azerbaijan have forged close political and economic ties recently. Last Thursday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel highlighted the need for flights between Belgrade and Chicago, adding that he will work on establishing services between the two cities by the spring of 2013. Chicago is considered to have the second largest Serbian population after Belgrade.

44 comments:

  1. Good thing the Balkans are getting over the ocean. But still, if i lived in Chicago and i must chose a way to Europe/Balkans, Azerbaijan Airlines would be the last option i would think about to fly with anyway.

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    1. I would agree and I think older people would be even less likely to trust AZAL.

      That being said, I do not actually know much/anything about that airline.

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    2. ^ if anything the older people would love flying with them especially older Serbians from Chicago, as they would have a direct flight, and the planes have IFE! :) hopefully the pricing will be good.

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  2. Oh no, not again this JAT bullshit?!

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    1. @10:23 Anonymous
      Sorry to disappoint you they don't see any reason in flying via ZAG.

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    2. Who is the idiot telling everybody whether it's JAT or Jat, seriously do you think we care?

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    3. You should care because Jat and JAT are two different companies. Just because you don't care doesn't mean it is correct.

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    4. it's ok he's probably croatian. he doesn't know any better

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  3. Azerbaijan is one of the richest country! I am sure pilots are among the best.
    It would be really nice if they commence flights via BEG.

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  4. Will they remove the second security screening (very annoying) with CAT 1? Or it doesn't have anything to do with that?

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    1. They'll remove the 2nd screening when the new terminal floor is completed, so that transfer passengers can be segregated.

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  5. Austrian Airlines will be upgauging their morning flight to Belgrade during the holidays to an A320. Their afternoon flight will be operated by an A320 too. Dawn/night flights will be a mix of Fokker 70/100 while the afternoon flight will remain unchanged (Dash-8).

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  6. Should be good news for BEG and region.
    Both security screenings were in effect when Uzbekistan was flying. Moreover it was more rigorous then the first one (every passenger was hand-searched). Control prior border crossing area nevertheless should be shortly removed but not because FAA.

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  7. All but expected, Qatar Airways joins one world. Strange to see AA and QR in the same alliance.
    How, in your opinion, this might affect them?

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  8. I don't understand what would be the role of Jat Airways on this hypothetical Azal stopover. Could someone (with proper knowledge) enlighten me, please?

    Thanks in advance.

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    1. JAT will codeshare on the BEG-North America and BEG-GYD segments, selling tickets on those routes thus helping fill the plane-up. Currently there is not any connection from the Balkans to the Caucasus. Also JAT's crew might be employed on the flights to/from North America, to serve ex-BEG passengers. JAT catering will probably be providing the food for the trans-Atlantic flight. BEG will become the first city in the region to offer direct scheduled connections to the Caucasus (a black-hole to get to at this point), as well as becoming the third city after Warsaw and Vienna offering direct flights to the US from the central part of Europe.

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    2. They would most probably code share on AZAL operated flights.

      It can be expected that they would have to buy an identical seats block for both BEG-NY and BEG-Bacu.

      But let's wait and see...

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    4. A special agreement could be put into place, especially if Serbia gets CAT 1, where Jat would take transfer passengers on from Belgrade! :)

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    5. JAT could transfer them from Belgrade while Azal could transfer JAT's passengers from Baku...

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    6. You are also forgetting one thing, if the flights are timed properly then Jat could also sell flights to New York from its regional flights, that is Thessaloniki, Skopje, Podgorica and Sarajevo.

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    7. That is also Split and Dubrovnik in the summer period.

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    8. Obviously i'm sure the guy above meant also that about the regional connections. It is quite too self-evident to be separately mentioned, pax "from BEG" are transferring pax as well.

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  9. I wonder would Vlade Divac again hug Jat pilot saying Idemo majtore! like he did for he HY flights ;) thus making it a misleading commercial.

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    1. Don't make fun of Vlade! He's a hero

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    2. Not mine, thank you! Would have been if he has stuck to basket. And I'm not making fun of him I have just make an observation. Have I said something that is not truth?

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  10. I would have to guess that this proposed service would use their upcoming 787?

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  11. I know the article talked about Chicago but what about NYC? Both New York and Chicago have many ex-Yu diaspora and I'm sure that both flights could get filled. Also, this opens the opportunity for Belgrade to become an ex-Yu hub for transatlantic flights. Hopefully if such flights to occur, it'll help with inter ex-Yu travel and reconciliation.

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    1. 787 in Belgrade would be nice!

      And @ last anonymous,

      I read somewhere too about Baku - Belgrade - ORD & JFK daily! Would be awesome, BEG 2 daily connections w the USA! :) and if code shared with Jat, Jat's planes would be more full and hopefully it will push for new planes (for JU) on order and a larger destination network including Zagreb!

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    2. @last Anonymous

      That would be awesome to have daily flights, but I don't think that'll happen. The best case I think would be 2 flights weekly to both cities.
      As for the regional development, I would love to see ex-Yu pax use Belgrade more and more. It's clearly the largest airport with the most connections, and it's gotten much better in general. It would be great to see pax from Zagreb in Belgrade!!! they should start flights and stop the political bullshit.

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    3. I believe a 787 does have enough gas to fly ORD - GYD direct right? Or their 767.. Well if they had daily flights, more business people and just regular people would use the flights because they would be more convenient (daily) and we get more transfer pax too from the Balkans.

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    4. It is going to be really interesting to see this venture once it happens if it happens.

      For AZAL and GYD direct air link to the US is a matter of prestige, while for JU and BEG it is a matter of extreme necessity.
      According to resources available online only 8000 O&D passengers have traveled between GYD and the US in 2011 which is insufficient for a single weekly flight, while estimates say that over 100 000 passengers have traveled between BEG and the US.

      If only three weekly flights were scheduled GYD BEG GYD segment would probably see not more than 60 passengers per flight while BEG USA BEG segment could be packed. Only if some other deal is made to make both BEG and GYD transit points. BEG for Azerbaijani passengers heading towards Europe and Serbian connecting to Caucasian region

      Anyway it would be nice to see some big birds again at BEG on regular basis. And even more birds if "unofficial" information regarding EK's flight launch to BEG materialize in April 2013

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    5. The 787 has the possibility to operate the flight from GYD to ORD directly. The whole purpose of the 787 was to operate long, thin routes.
      As mentioned by Flying Jack the whole purpose of these flights is for promotion of Azerbaijan and not for profit.

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  12. I recently read an article that Belgrade's business ranking rose a lot. It has started receiving a lot of attention in that manner and the amount of conferences that ook place in the city grew by 40% this year alone. That's huge. The figures surpass Sofia and Bucharest and are closer to Budapest than ever before. If these flights commence, I wonder how that will affect the recent tourist/business trend. Hopefully Americans and Canadians will realize Serbia is safe and Belgrade is a party capital :)

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  13. Hand searched in BEG? Get real or visit BEG.....

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  14. If Jat was serious about anything, they would by now have an updated fleet, be flying to numerous destinations ie Long Haul and utilizing the airports within Serbia and not just Belgrade Airport.Seems they are always looking to align with someone instead of thinking out of the box and persuing on their own. Why did the Uzbekistan Airways to New York fail? Is this partnership, if it happens, be any better? The politicians and management seem to be just talking and filling their pockets before Jat collapeses ....then they can blame someone else and not take responsibility. The typical Balkan way. No wonder the Balkans can't get ahead. No One Takes responsibility .

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    1. The deal with Uzbekistan was stopped because Jat wanted to operate the flights. However, when they were considering the flights they could not secure the permits from the U.S. government. So all in all Jat did try back then but the circumstances were not allowing for it.
      A lot has changed since then in the aviation market and more importantly the price of petrol is not what it used to be.

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    2. Flights with Uzbekistan was stoped because Lufthansa put some ultimatume to Jat and Serbia, it is a public secret! But those flights was very succesful,and Uzbekistan moved than via Riga.

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    3. No, Lufthansa killed Jat's deal with Emirates which saw Jat feed EK's New York's flights in Hamburg.

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    4. Does EK flies DXB-HAM-JFK? Can you explain this more into details please? Thanks.

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  15. Hahahha

    Serbia is not croatia.

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  16. Hope this happens. I love seeing airlines from lesser countries doing well.

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  17. Az Al is fine. Being that my boyfriend is from baku and my best friend is from the Balkans, and we are planning a trip, this would be perfect. But this was supposed to happen a year ago...

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