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Back to normal: Passenger traffic at Azerbaijani airports nearing pre-pandemic levels

16 July 2022 12:29 (UTC+04:00)
Back to normal: Passenger traffic at Azerbaijani airports nearing pre-pandemic levels

By Ayya Lmahamad

The coronavirus pandemic has definitely changed the world of travel. Back in 2020, when the pandemic hit, 100 percent of global destinations had implemented travel restrictions, closed borders, and canceled flights. It’s been a long time since the question “where should I travel to next” was a routine for many.

In 2021, COVID-19 was still a main issue in the world, however as vaccination programs roll out, the hope for the possibility to travel again has emerged. And although COVID-19 continues to affect travel by forcing governments to impose country-specific bans and restrictions, it is already possible to travel.

Nowadays, as the world begins to emerge from lockdown, counties are looking toward going back to normal. Amid the fact that some restrictions are still in place, people still choose to travel more frequently.

2021

Last year, Azerbaijani airports served 2.93 million passengers, twice as many as in 2020. Of the total number, passengers on international flights accounted for 2.39 million.

The main air carriers, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) and Buta Airways carried 874,500 and 250,000 passengers respectively. AZAL carried 38.2 percent of the total number of international flights, while Buta Airways accounted for 10.9 percent.

Moreover, 675 people were served on flights to Fuzuli International Airport in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh, which opened in the autumn of 2021.

2022

Since the beginning of this year, the total passenger traffic of Azerbaijan’s international airports has exceeded 2 million people. Only in June this year, 530,00 people were served at the airports, which is 96 percent of the indicator of the pre-pandemic 2019.

The main air carriers of the Baku airport, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) and Buta Airways, have carried 618,000 and 201,000 passengers respectively since the beginning of the year. Of these, 457,000 were passengers of international flights.

In June 2022, 24 foreign airlines made regular flights to Baku airport. In addition, this month, Salam Air opened direct flights from Muscat to Baku.

The top ten most popular international destinations from Baku in June included Istanbul, Moscow, Dubai, Tbilisi, Antalya, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Ankara, Sharjah, and Minsk.

It is worth noting that Heydar Aliyev International Airport is the largest airport in Azerbaijan and the region in terms of passenger and cargo traffic, takeoff and landing operations, air terminal area, and cargo complex capacity. In 2021, the airport has received a 5-star rating on epidemiological safety during the coronavirus pandemic from Skytrax International Air Transport Rating Agency. This is the highest recognition of the efficiency of COVID-19 measures introduced at the airport to protect its passengers and employees from the spread of the coronavirus.

Some tips for traveling in the post-pandemic period

First, remember to check the pandemic rules in the chosen destination before the flight. For example, some countries still require people to wear face masks outdoors, while some don’t.

Proof of vaccination for various activities also differs in each country. In some countries, you may enter restaurants, shopping centers, and other indoor places only if you have a certificate of vaccination. In addition, some countries require to have a vaccination certificate upon arrival. Moreover, some places still require pre-departure and on-arrival testing.

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Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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