Azerbaijani gov’t considers AZAL privatization unnecessary
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 3
By Azad Hasanli - Trend:
The privatization of state airlines is not expedient, Azerbaijani Finance Minister Samir Sharifov said, answering questions from the MPs during the discussion of the draft state budget for 2016 at the joint meeting of the committees of the Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan on economic policy, social policy, agrarian policy, natural resources, energy and ecology, as well as security issues.
"For example, in the US, private airlines are constantly going bankrupt," he said. "As a result, the government has to invest in them, only then their [financial] situation improves. As for the experience of small countries, in most cases in these countries, the airlines somehow receive subsidies from government."
As an example, Sharifov mentioned the Greek airline "Olympic Air", which had to be privatized 20-30 years ago, but no results have been reached yet.
He also recalled the recent bankruptcy of the private Russian airline "Transaero", the debts of which exceeded $4 billion.
"We must be careful when approaching this issue [the privatization of state airlines]," he said. "The sector of air transportation is so sensitive that if private companies provide services incorrectly, the government will have to intervene."
Azerbaijan Airlines is a major air carrier and one of the leaders of the aviation community of the CIS countries. Total route network of the airline is 40 destinations in 19 countries. Azerbaijan Airlines transported more than 1.8 million passengers in 2014.
AZAL has one of the newest airplane fleet that consists of 25 airplanes. AZAL headquarters is in Baku, at Heydar Aliyev International Airport.