By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) plans to sign a contract by the end of 2017 to buy four Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, AZAL President Jahangir Asgarov said at the 7th Caspian Air Cargo Summit in Baku on October 10.
He added that two more Boeing 747-8 F aircraft will be acquired for the Silk Way Airlines company.
“Preparatory work for the purchase of these aircraft is currently underway,” Asgarov said.
AZAL President informed that at the moment, Azerbaijan has Boeing 747, Boeing 787, Boeing 767, Airbus 340, Airbus 320, Airbus 319 and Embraer 190 aircraft.
“I also want to remind that we signed a contract for the purchase of 10 modern Boeing 737 MAX aircraft,” Asgarov said, adding that they will be put into operation in 2018.
Other 10 Boeing 747 aircraft, including five Boeing 747-8 F, belong to Silk Way Airlines, he noted.
AZAL President further said that today, Silk Way Airlines operates flights to 60 countries, including 37 regular routes. Over the past year, the airline opened 11 new routes which include Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, as well as Hong Kong-Singapore flights carried out over the Pacific Ocean, he noted.
Asgarov also said that great success was achieved in the country in the field of civil aviation.
“In Azerbaijan, there are six international airports – in Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Gabala, Lankaran and Zagatala. These airports can receive all types of civil aircraft,” he noted.
The 7th Caspian Air Cargo Summit started on October 9 and will last until October 12. About 250 representatives of civil aviation, freight traffic and logistics spheres participate in the event.
Asgarov also declared in his speech at the summit that Azerbaijan Airlines plans to create a free economic zone on the territory of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku in the near future.
“The legislative base necessary for the project’s implementation has already been approved and an action plan is being prepared,” he noted.
Speaking about the implementation of measures reflected in Azerbaijan’s strategic road maps, Asgarov said that AZAL has already implemented about 80 percent of activities attributable to the company.
AZAL, a major air carrier and one of the leaders of the aviation community of CIS countries, is one of the major companies not only in the region but also across the globe.
Total route network of the airline is 40 destinations in 25 countries. In 2016, Azerbaijan Airlines carried over 2 million passengers, and the number of its flights is increasing. Currently, more than 16,000 scheduled international flights, destined for over 38 cities all over the world, depart Azerbaijan annually, while over 1,300 flights destined for local airports are available to passengers.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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