Getting There in Azerbaijan
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Long gone are the days when you had to go trough Moscow to reach Baku! At present an increasing number of western European airlines connect Baku with Europe and the world. In addition, several airlines connect Baku to destinations all over the CIS, making Baku an embryonic regional hub. Several charter companies operate from and to Baku. Scheduled and non-scheduled cargo flights are also available. The flag carrier is Azerbaijan Airlines, AZAL, for short. AZAL is a state owned conglomerate, that inherited the Aeroflot structure. The company controls most the aviation field in Azerbaijan, besides being an airline it also is in areas such as: airports, basic maintenance, traffic control systems, catering, refuelling, security, and even the National Civil Aviation Academy! AZAL also owns Azalhelicopter, which operates flights mostly for the oil industry. At present the fleet includes Boeing 727s, Tupolev 154s and 134s and Yakovlev 40s. The fleet is being expanded with more recent Boeing aircraft. AZAL flights serve destination in Great Britain, Turkey, Israel, Syria, Iran, China, the United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation and the Ukraine. The company expects to add new destinations as its fleet grows. They have offices in: Allepo, Ankara, Baku, Dubai, Istanbul, London, Kiev, Moscow, Nizhni Novgorod, Samara, St. Petersburg, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Trabzon, Urumchi and Yekaterinburg. The post Soviet slight de-regulation allowed for the creation of several smaller companies, the other Azeri airlines are: Baku Airways, Forair, Imair and Turan Air. Azerbaijan does not have its own technical centre for aircraft maintenance, so the local airlines have to send their aircraft abroad for routine interventions. Visit the AzerWeb.com site for a permanently up to date compilation of airline schedules to and from Baku.