By Sara Israfilbayova
Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which are keen to develop bilateral relations, will commence flights between the capital cities beginning from March 2, 2018.
The UAE-based Etihad Airways, which is one of the top ten world airlines, will introduce the new route to capitalize on the strong and growing demand for flights between the UAE and Azerbaijan.
The service will be operated three times a week using a 136-seat Airbus A320, configured with 16 seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said that based on the growth witnessed in recent months from the UAE and neighbouring Gulf countries to Azerbaijan, there is confidence that the new route will boost traffic from the UAE.
The two nations see rapidly increasing economic cooperation and are eager to promote tourism.
Frequent visits of the leaders of two countries significantly strengthened the political ties between the countries, at the same time stimulated the growth of economic interaction, particularly in the field of tourism.
The tourism has become popular recently between the countries thanks to facilitation of visa regime for the UAE citizens.
Azerbaijan introduced a visa waiver programme for UAE nationals in November 2015 and expanded it to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations in early 2016. This prompted a surge in travel from across the GCC to the emerging tourist destination located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, which offers visitors access to vast areas of unspoiled nature and centuries-old culture. Baku, which sits on the Caspian Sea, is the country’s primary gateway and commercial centre.
During the first nine months of 2016, foreign tourists visiting Azerbaijan totaled 1.7 million. The number of visitors from the UAE and GCC increased 30 times on the same nine-month period in 2015, fueled by softened visa restrictions.
Etihad Airways, set up by Royal Decree in July 2003, commenced commercial operations in November 2003, and has gone on to become the fastest growing airline in the history of commercial aviation.
Etihad’s fleet of 66 aircraft operates more than 1,000 flights per week, serving an international network of 84 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Etihad Airways also owns nearly 30 percent of Air Berlin, Europe’s sixth largest carrier and 40 percent of Air Seychelles.
Azerbaijan and the UAE enjoy friendly relations and are keen to deepen economic cooperation.
Azerbaijan imports goods from the UAE, which are, in fact, re-exported from other countries. It is mostly metallurgical and chemical products, textiles, building materials, tobacco products, household equipment.
Azerbaijan mainly exports to the UAE fruits, juices, nuts, metal semi-finished products and so on.
Azerbaijan’s export mission will arrive in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for holding talks with UAE businessmen in early October.
A big exhibition of Azerbaijani products is planned to be organized as part of the visit of the export mission to promote the ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ brand in the UAE.
The UAE-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Committee previously said both countries were to focus on nine key areas for bilateral cooperation, including air transport, tourism, communications, environment, water, agriculture, renewable energy, modern technology and industry.
The trade turnover between the two sides amounted to $14.37 million in January-August 2017, $7.38 million of which fell on export from Azerbaijan, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz