Azerbaijan conducts test flight at second brand new airport in liberated lands

The first test flight was carried out at Zangilan International Airport, which is currently under construction in eastern Zangazur, one of the two economic regions of the liberated lands of Azerbaijan.

The news came from Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles, US, Nasimi Aghayev, who posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

“By September 2022, the airport should be in operation. It is the 2nd airport built by Azerbaijan in liberated areas over the past 20 months,” he wrote, posting a video that shows a plane crossing the airport runway.

Zangilan International Airport’s runway will be 3,000 meters long and 60 meters wide. The airport will be able to receive all types of aircraft, including heavy cargo aircraft weighing up to 400 tonnes.

The airport ground was drilled on April 26, 2021 by President Ilham Aliyev, while construction began in May of the same year. Baku-based construction company AzVirt is constructing the air port. The launch of the airfield is scheduled for some time in the second half of 2022, according to company officials. However, the fast pace of construction may lead to an earlier launch, around August or September.

Once operational, Zangilan International Airport is expected to contribute to the socio-economic development of the district and surrounding territories liberated from nearly three decades of Armenian occupation.

The reconstruction and modernization of civil aviation infrastructure in the liberated lands of Azerbaijan is part of the state-run programs rolled out soon after the 2020 war with Armenia.

The Azerbaijani region of Karabakh (Garabagh) fell under Armenian occupation during the First Karabakh War in the early 1990s. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia launched a military campaign against Azerbaijan which lasted until a ceasefire agreement in 1994. As a result of the war, Armenia occupied 20% of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan. More than 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis have been killed and a million have been expelled from these lands under a brutal policy of ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia.

The Armenian authorities have repeatedly tried to use the airspace of the Karabakh region and Khojaly airport to accommodate flights of Armenian companies and military aviation. However, such illegal attempts have faced a backlash from Azerbaijan, including ultimatums on international platforms.

In 2020, Azerbaijan regained access to airspace above the Karabakh region. As a result of the 44-day war, the Azerbaijani army liberated more than 300 settlements, including the towns of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Gubadli, Zangilan and Shusha, from illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended with a tripartite declaration signed on November 10, 2020 by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. Armenia returned three more districts to Azerbaijan’s control as part of its obligations under the deal.

The first new airport in the liberated Azerbaijani lands, Fuzuli International Airport, was put into operation in October 2021. The air port, built by Azerbaijani and Turkish companies, was inaugurated eight months after the inauguration ceremony and recognized by the International Air Transport Association. (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Meanwhile, the third airport in liberated Azerbaijani lands will be put into operation in Lachin district in 2024. It will be the highest airfield in Azerbaijan. Currently, the land for the facility is being leveled for construction.

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