Russia allows more flights to Azerbaijan

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The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) is increasing the number of flights and routes allowed between Russia and Azerbaijan. The decision covers not only flights to Baku, but also to the Azerbaijani cities of Ganja, Lankaran, Gabala and Zagatala.

Moscow is increasing the number of flights between Russia and Azerbaijan. Photo: Getty Images

Six Russian Airlines Granted With New Frequencies And Flights To Azerbaijan

According to a report in Azerbaijani media Trend, six airlines will intensify their flights between Russia and Azerbaijan. Aeroflot will operate daily flights between Krasnoyarsk (KJA) and Baku (GYD). Moscow-based Northwind Airlines will operate daily flights between Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) and Gabala (GBB). The airline will also operate daily flights between Perm (PEE) and Baku and SVO and Zagatala (ZTU) four times a week. Royal Flight airlines will operate flights twice a week between Rostov-on-Don (RVI) and Baku, and Sochi (AER) and Baku.

But these new flights lag behind the number of new routes chosen by Ural Airlines and Siberia Airlines. Ural Airlines, based in Yekaterinburg, will serve 25 different Russian cities to Baku three times a week. Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport will see at least 10 Ural Airlines flights land each day.

These 25 origin cities in Russia include Sochi, Belgorod (EGO), Surgut (SGC), Chita (HTA), Kaluga (KLF), Saransk (SKX), Vladikavkaz (OGZ), Nalchik (NAL), Nizhnekamsk (NBC) , Nizhnevartovsk (NJC), Ulyanovsk (ULV), Lipetsk (LPK), Kemerovo (KEJ), Orenburg (REN), Tomsk (TOF), Vladivostok (VVO), Yaroslavl (IAR), Khabarovsk (KHV), Barnaul (BAX) , Tyumen (TJM), Saratov (RTW), Krasnodar (KRR), Volgograd (VOG), Cheboksary (CSY) and Stavropol (STW).

Flights Russia-Azerbaijan
Ural Airlines has emerged as one of the big winners. Photo: GECAS press room

Siberia Airlines takes a series of new routes and frequencies to Azerbaijan

Siberia Airlines (also known as S7 Airlines) has also done very well since the Rosaviatsiya decision. They fly three times a day from 13 Russian airports in Baku. The airline also supports flights three times a week from 23 Russian cities to Ganja International Airport (KVD). In Baku, Siberia Airlines will fly from Orenburg, Vladikavkaz (OGZ), Nalchik, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov, Voronezh (VOZ), Omsk (OMS), Chelyabinsk (CEK), Perm (PEE), Ekaterinburg (SVX), Sochi, Makhachkala (MCX) and Zhukovsky Moscow International Airport (ZIA).

Ganga will see Siberia Airlines flights departing from Novosibirsk (OVB), Samara (KUF), Ufa (UFA), Kazan (KZN), Kemerovo (KEJ), Krasnoyarsk (KJA), Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody (MRV), Volgograd ( VOG), Astrakhan (ASF), Vladikavkaz (OGZ), Nalchik, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov, Voronezh, Nizhny (GOJ) Novgorod (NVR), Omsk, Chelyabinsk (CEK), Perm, Ekaterinburg, Sochi, Makhachkala (MCX ) and Zhukovsky (ZIA).

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Siberia Airlines is also known as S7 Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

Azerbaijan rolls out welcome mat to selected foreign carriers

Other airlines to take routes from Rosaviatsiya include Ikar Airlines and IrAero Airlines. Ikar Airlines has recovered daily frequencies on three routes to Ganga. Ikar Airlines will serve Ufa, Mineralnye Vody and Rostov-on-Don. The airline also serves Baku daily from Sochi and Grozny (GRV). Irkutsk-based IrAero Airlines operate flights between Nizhnekamsk and Baku and Novosibirsk and Baku twice a week.

Azerbaijan recently committed to opening its airports to certain foreign carriers. The country now has an open skies policy for selected airlines. This is all part of a larger strategy to transform Azerbaijan into an airline hub and capitalize on its location halfway between Asia and Europe.

But the open door policy does not apply to all foreign carriers. While Russia, a neighbor and close ally, is on the welcome list, heavy cash and capacity carriers from China and the Gulf do not receive the same welcome. It seems that the slightly battered and cash-strapped Russian airline industry does not present the same threat to the local airline industry as, say, Emirates or China Southern.

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