Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony of a new terminal of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport

23 april 2014, 16:30

 

The opening of a new terminal of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport was held on 23 April.

The opening ceremony was attended by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his wife Mehriban Aliyeva and members of their family.

The airport’s passenger terminal was first built in Azerbaijan in 1933. The first two-storey terminal building was constructed and commissioned on the territory of the Baku airport in 1965. The design and construction of a new terminal building of the Baku airport started on the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev in 1980. However, the implementation of this project was made possible only after Azerbaijan restored its independence. The opening of an airport terminal meeting international standards was conducted in a ceremony attended by nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev in 1999. Runways and taxiways were reconstructed, air traffic control systems upgraded, radio navigation and meteorological equipment updated and a whole series of other measures taken at the Baku airport in a matter of a few years.

In parallel to this, the country’s civil aviation entered the stage of extensive development. The Nakhchivan international airport meeting international standards was commissioned in 2004. As part of the state program on the socioeconomic development of districts covering the 2006-2008 period, airports were commissioned one after another in Ganja, Zagatala and Lankaran. Later, airports were also built in Gabala and Yevlakh.

In addition to that, in an effort to bring passenger and cargo transportation into line with modern requirements, Azerbaijan has completely revamped its fleet of planes and helicopters. The aircraft fleet of the national flag carrier “Azerbaijan Airlines” (AZAL) CJSC has been supplemented with new modern liners purchased from the world’s leading manufacturers. Currently, AZAL operates flights to dozens of countries around the world.

The programs of rapid socioeconomic development undertaken under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, who has set the priority task of developing Azerbaijan to the level of the world’s most progressive countries, have played an important part in raising the level of civil aviation. One of the measures taken for the development of civil aviation in the country in recent years has been the construction of a new terminal building of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new terminal building was attended by President Ilham Aliyev on 17 March 2011. Its construction has just been completed. The building stands out for its grand appearance and functionality. The head of state repeatedly enquired about the progress of construction work and gave relevant instructions and recommendations.

President Ilham Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the new terminal building of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

The president of the "Azerbaijan Airlines" CJSC, Jahangir Asgarov, informed the President about the work done.

It was noted that special attention was being paid to the modernization of the country's air transport. AZAL, which has become one of the world’s major airlines, is one of the leaders both in the region and the CIS for the number of new aircraft at its disposal. The commissioning of the new terminal building at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport further enhances the strategic importance of the airport.

President Ilham Aliyev addressed the ceremony with a speech.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends!

It is a very significant day in the life of our country today. We are gathered for the opening of a new terminal building at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. I sincerely congratulate all of you on this occasion!

The opening of the new terminal building is a great event. This grand building is further evidence of the development of our country and of the power of Azerbaijan. This airport is one of the most beautiful airports in the world and a unique piece of architecture. Its interior design is also pleasing to the eye. The entire work here has been done with high quality and great taste. In other words, as the air gate of our country it shows the development of the modern Azerbaijan and imparts further beauty to the city of Baku, which is developing by the day.

There are favourable conditions for passengers here. Very comfortable lounges, public places and large halls have been built. And if you look at the building from above, the building resembles a large bird with spread out wings. Similarly, Azerbaijan is developing with its wings spread out wide and moving forward. Azerbaijan is ranked first in the world in terms of the pace of economic development. The creation of such grand buildings and transport infrastructure is part of our state policy.

The development of air transport is one of the priority issues in Azerbaijan. The government provides its support. Major investment has been made in the development of air transport in recent years. The growth of our state budget allows us the opportunity to allocate additional funds for this area. I can say that all of the money channelled into the air transport infrastructure in recent years was made ??possible through public investment.

Suffice it to say that this airport will serve 6 million passengers a year. The old airport building constructed 15 years ago and overhauled recently can take a further 3 million passengers. Thus, 9 million passengers can use the Baku airport every year.

New airports have been built in other cities of our country. Seven airports have been built over the past 10 years. Five of them have international status. Airports have been built and commissioned in Baku, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Lankaran, Gabala, Zagatala and Yevlakh. These airports arrange flights to foreign countries and the number of flights is increasing. At the same time, the number of domestic flights is also growing.

I remember very well that different opinions were floating around when we started the construction of regional airports.

People suggested that it was not necessary, wondered who would be using them and thought that the airports would not organize a sufficient number of flights. But look how many passengers are using our regional airports today. Look how many Azerbaijani citizens can now safely fly from where they live to other countries. Today, flights are organized from the Ganja, Nakhchivan, Lankaran and Gabala airports to foreign countries.

At the same time, the government continues its policy towards purchasing new aircraft. I can say that AZAL does not have a single old plane. All the planes are new and meet the highest standards. In other words, there are no higher standards, as AZAL’s fleet today consists of Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft. Today we have about 25 aircraft, and the process is still under way. In the near future we plan to purchase new large aircraft. This airport can accommodate and provide the necessary ground handling services for the world's largest aircraft Airbus A380. Thus, the Heydar Aliyev International Airport is one of the best airports in the world both in terms of its beauty, design and comfort, and in terms of the level of service provided. The Azerbaijani government will continue to support the development of air transport.

These excellent conditions, the material support and the resources invested in the air transport infrastructure have also paved the way for the development of our national airline. Today AZAL is one of the distinguished airlines globally. Safety and quality are in the foreground. A combination of these two factors has turned AZAL into a modern and dynamic company in the world. I regularly enquire and know that passengers are satisfied with the level of service. In general, the successful development of AZAL has a positive impact on the overall development of our country, because people coming to Azerbaijan, Baku and other cities first come across AZAL, and the service they receive there creates an impression of our country from the first minute.

Our country is developing today. Today, modern Azerbaijan demonstrates its capabilities on a global scale. This being the case, the level of service in the place of first contact should certainly correspond to the overall level of our country. I am very glad that AZAL is taking advantage of the government support and is now one of the major companies not only in the region but also globally. The number of flights is increasing. Today, flights are organized to more than 30 airports around the world.

Of course, I am sure that this positive trend will be further enhanced. A lot still remains to be done even though we can say most of the work associated with the creation of the air transport infrastructure has been done in recent years.

We have built airports, purchased modern equipment and new aircraft, and organized new flights. But Azerbaijan is developing, and the number of visitors to our country is always on the increase. This being the case, of course, the development of air transport will continue to be a priority issue.

At the same time, the volume of cargo traffic in Azerbaijan is also increasing. I can say that Azerbaijan’s cargo aviation is in one of the first places in the world. We use our geographical location very rationally. We are trying to turn Baku into a transport and logistical center, and I believe that we have already achieved that. With this aim Azerbaijan is successfully developing its cargo aviation. New aircraft are purchased. A cargo terminal has been in operation for many years. In other words, we should make the most of our geographical location to turn Azerbaijan, including the region as a whole, into a transport hub. This work is progressing well. It elevates the value of our country and also strengthens our economic potential. I believe that by taking additional measures in this direction we will further expand our capabilities in the region.

Thus, Azerbaijan will continue to play the role of a transport and logistical center on a global scale. We have a very favorable geographical location. But I have always said - I remember saying in my speeches related to transport issues 10 years ago that if we do not underpin our geographical location with infrastructure, it will not mean anything. Therefore, along with the policies carried out in other areas in recent years, the development of the transport sector has also been a priority. It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan’s transport sector has received the biggest amount of public investment - first of all because this was a necessity as we had to reconstruct all our transport infrastructure. On the other hand, transport and infrastructure are the first and foremost factors contributing to economic development. In some cases it may be considered that the funds invested in the road, air and sea transport will not pay off any time soon. This is true. The opportunities being created, the tourist zones, the economic development, the ease of long-distance communication, the growth of freight, the development of our transit potential - all of these factors strengthen us both from political and economic points of view. Therefore, investment in the transport sector is fully justified.

Today we are implementing specific programs on all areas of transport. Roads are built. The construction of main and intercity roads is practically over. Over the past few years we have been seriously dealing with the construction of rural roads. The construction of rural roads both from the state budget and from the contingency fund of the President is in full swing. I believe that in the coming years, by 2018 when the third regional development program will be completed, we will build and restore all rural roads.

Sea transport also remains a priority. The Caspian Shipping Company is considered a major company on a global scale. In the recent past, to ensure more efficient operation of the company, we took additional measures and carried out some structural reforms. Today, the Caspian Shipping Company should also achieve the level of AZAL, and I am sure it will. We have more than 260 vessels, though some of them are not at the desired level. Over the last 10 years we have purchased about 20 vessels. Ten of them are tankers and six ferries. A large shipyard has been built in Azerbaijan.

Never before has Azerbaijan had such a plant. We only had shipyards before. But today our shipyard can build any ship. It can build tankers, ferries, passenger vessels, ships serving oil operations, as well as warships. Today, the largest international trade seaport in the Caspian Sea basin is also under construction in Azerbaijan, in Alat. The first stage of this port will be completed and put into operation this year. In general, we will celebrate the opening of the Alat international trade seaport next year. This port will be capable of processing 10 million tons of cargo at the first stage and a further 20 million tons of cargo afterwards, including 1 million containers, which will further expand the transit opportunities of Azerbaijan.

In parallel with this, the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is progressing well. We are implementing this project together with our partners in Turkey and Georgia. As a result of the construction of this railway, Azerbaijan will link two continents. We are already are a country located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Our railways, roads and air transport we help us to further enhance our central role. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a historic project. Azerbaijan has assumed most of the financial costs. The construction work attributable to the Azerbaijani side will be completed by the end of this year, and I do hope that this road will open fully next year. Therefore, the most convenient and the shortest path connecting Asia and Europe will pass through Azerbaijan.

In short, on this beautiful and historic day I wanted to express my thoughts about the work that goes on in the transport sector as a whole and about further reforms and policies. The government will continue to pursue this policy. The transport sector in Azerbaijan is becoming a leading sector of our economy. The construction of such beautiful airports also showcases the power of Azerbaijan - a young and modern country which develops at the fastest pace in the world from an economic point of view.

I express my appreciation to everyone who has contributed to the construction of the airport –builders, designers and architects. I am confident that citizens of Azerbaijan and visitors to our country will take advantage of these wonderful opportunities. When you walk into this building, your heart rejoices. I am proud that we have such a beautiful airport.

Dear friends, I congratulate you and the people of Azerbaijan on this wonderful event once again and wish you continued success! Thank you.

XXX

The president of the "Azerbaijan Airlines" CJSC, Jahangir Asgarov, thanked President Ilham Aliyev for the attention being paid to the modernization of the country’s air transport.

Jahangir Asgarov presented the head of state and his wife with first token passenger tickets of the new airport terminal.
The ceremony was then addressed by the chief coordinator for construction of the terminal, Martin Burns, and the deputy director of the Azerbaijan State Civil Aviation Administration, Hajiaga Aliyev.

President Ilham Aliyev toured the terminal building.

Azerbaijan’s civil aviation is globally renowned as an elite and high-tech segment of transport. The favorable geographical location of the country further enhances the role and place of Azerbaijan in the global system of air transport. The quality performance of the orders and instructions of President Ilham Aliyev, who attaches tremendous importance to the modernization of the country's air transport, has facilitated the entry of the country’s aviation industry into a new stage in its development. It is thanks to the special attention and care of the head of state that Azerbaijan’s national aviation entered a new stage of development in 2003.

In recent years, the work on strengthening the material and technical infrastructure of existing airports and improving the activity of passenger terminals in line with modern requirements have been of consistent and systematic nature. One of the most significant results of the attention being paid by President Ilham Aliyev to the development of civil aviation in Azerbaijan has been the construction of the new terminal building at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. The objective behind this project is to further improve the level of services associated with passenger transport and bring flight safety into line with international standards.

It was noted that the new airport terminal has the capacity to process 6,000,000 passengers a year. It covers an area of 65,000 square meters. The grand four-storey terminal building in the shape of aircraft wings stands out for an interesting architectural design. The first floor is intended for check-ins for departing flights and a baggage claim area for new arrivals. High-level service will be provided to "business class" passengers here. The second floor of the airport terminal is envisaged for arriving passengers. There are border checkpoints, visa kiosks, a service for control over the security of transit passengers, as well as a recreation lounge for arriving passengers here. The third floor, meant for departing passengers, will carry out customs and border control procedures, as well as passenger security checks based on advanced technologies. This floor also accommodates duty-free shops and various cafes. The fourth floor of the terminal building houses a bar and cafe for "business class" passengers and meeting rooms fitted with communication equipment. All floors are equipped with electronic boards.

The building of the new terminal is also equipped with modern escalators and elevators. It incorporates the latest technological advances used in international aviation. The new terminal building, which attracts attention with its modern appearance, will provide top-quality service to passengers. The application of cutting-edge equipment will also contribute to flight safety. The terminal building has the necessary facilities for the leisure of passengers as well. It has green areas with a special design. The building operates aerobridges capable of receiving 12 aircraft at a time. Two aerobridges are intended for accommodating the world's largest passenger aircraft - two-tier Airbus A380. Security measures are implemented in accordance with the latest standards.

It was indicated that the recruitment of technical personnel and professionals dealings with passenger transportation and flight safety at the terminal building was carried out through competition. All activities related to the recruitment and training of new personnel have already been completed. In general, the building of the new terminal at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport has the necessary infrastructure to accommodate aircraft and provide ground services.

It was also noted that as a result of an audit conducted by some international organizations in the sphere of aviation security in the country, Azerbaijan has received the "first class" status. At present, the Heydar Aliyev International Airport operates flights to 33 airports in 15 countries around the world. Work on the organization of direct long-haul flights, including those to the United States, is drawing to a close. Inside the country, regular flights are operated to Nakhchivan, Ganja and Gabala, and charter flights to Zagatala and Lankaran. In 2013, a total of 2,857,000 passengers were transported from the Heydar Aliyev International Airport to different destinations and back. These figures were obtained thanks to the upgrade of the country's air transport in recent years and the replenishment of the aircraft fleet with new modern airliners. The new airport also has a car park for 750 cars and driveways to it. The area around the airport has been extensively landscaped.

The head of state expressed his satisfaction with the work done and gave relevant instructions and recommendations.

In conclusion, a picture was taken as a souvenir.

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On 23 April, the first passengers of the new airport terminal of the Heydar Aliyev International Airport, President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva, left for the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague.