Azerbaijan Grants “Open Sky Access” In Attempt To Boost International Air Traffic

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Following Georgia and Armenia, the Azerbaijani Government have said on December 27th that it will grant international airlines so-called ‘Open Sky’ access, a move driven by growing demand for stopovers on East-West aviation routes.

By granting the fifth and seventh tenants of the UN’s Freedom of the Air, Azerbaijan will allow international airlines to use Baku, or any other airport, as a stopover between two other destinations. This is typically used to link Asia and Europe.

Airlines will also now be able to use airports in Azerbaijan without flying to or from their home country. Georgia and Armenia have already pushed ahead with these reforms and have seen their passenger traffic jump as a result.

Country Passenger Air Traffic (millions) 2019 % Increase YoY
Azerbaijan 5 9
Armenia 12 16
Georgia 6 6

Georgia’s air traffic growth slowed from the previous year, mainly due to bans on flights coming in from Russia in the wake of political tensions with Moscow. As a result, air traffic between Tbilisi and Yerevan rose 162% on the year as Georgians looked for other access routes to Russia.

The development implications are significant for Baku as an international hub between Asia, the Caucasus and Europe.

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