By Vugar Khalilov
Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) has launched flights to Nakhchivan over the Armenian territory, the airlines reported on its Facebook page on October 6.
AZAL began using the Armenian air space for its domestic Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku flight starting October 6.
The company said that this step shows Azerbaijan’s determination to unblock transport communications in the region, which is within the interests of all neighboring countries.
The change of the Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku flight route will also reduce flight duration and fuel consumption, the company stressed.
Thus, from now on, AZAL will be able to use all existing air corridors, including the ones passing through Armenia and Iran, while performing this flight, the report concluded.
As the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended in 2020, the regional aviation security rules have also changed.
Under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules, the regional airspace and all air corridors are now open for flights.
Azerbaijan operates flights using the airspace over the Zangazur corridor in line with the international conventions and Armenia has such an obligation as well.
Armenian civil aircraft can use the corridors passing through Azerbaijan’s airspace.
This is another example of the opening of communications in the region, which turns Armenia into a transit country.
Another advantage of this route is that for Azerbaijan there is no need to use Iranian airspace.
On October 5, local news sources quoted an unnamed military source as saying that Iran had banned Azerbaijani military aircraft to fly through its territory to Nakhchivan.
The planes carry equipment to the military units stationed in Nakhchivan.
Iran often uses Azerbaijan’s territory for transport and transit operations, which is mainly carried out through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Iran’s attempt to block the military planes will not significantly affect Azerbaijan, since the country prefers other routes to send military troops and equipment to Nakhchivan, the reports said.
The Azerbaijani foreign and defence ministries have not yet been observed to comment on the subject.
On October 4, President Ilham Aliyev stressed that Baku did not react to some Iranian provincial mullah's anti-Azerbaijan remarks, which further paved the way for the start of baseless official accusations against the country.
“Azerbaijan has allegedly brought Israel to these regions. Let them open their eyes wide and look. Where did they see Israel here? Not a single person lives here. There is no building here. Is there evidence? No. If there is no evidence, everyone should be held accountable for what they say. We cannot allow anyone to fabricate baseless slander against us," Aliyev said.
Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan is a country pursuing an independent policy and build relations with neighbors and all other countries on the basis of an independent policy. He added that Azerbaijan respects every country's sovereign rights.
"We respect the sovereign rights of each country and demand that everyone respect our sovereign rights too and not interfere in our internal affairs. Such attempts have been made before and all of them have failed. I want to say again that the accusations against us must be proved officially. Let them come and see if there is a single foreign citizen in this region," the president said.
Aliyev added that Azerbaijan cleared from the occupiers 130 kilometres of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. He underlined the necessity to investigate what processes were going on there during the Armenian occupation.
“Instead, they are accusing Azerbaijan of bringing in some country to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is allegedly governed not by the Azerbaijani people, not by the Azerbaijani state, but by some external force. This is disrespectful. We can never accept that. Everyone should know this. Azerbaijan will continue to plan its foreign relations and domestic affairs the way it considers expedient,” he stated.
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