An international airport in Fuzuli city of Azerbaijan, which was completed in eight months, will be inaugurated on Tuesday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
Fuzuli International Airport is the first airport built by Azerbaijan in the area recently liberated from Armenian occupation. Erdogan will be the first head of state to land at Fuzuli International Airport.
On Jan. 12, Aliyev laid the foundation stone of the airport, which achieved the highest international standards in eight months. The first test flight to the airport was carried out on Aug. 22.
The runway of the airport is 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) long and 60 meters (197 feet) wide. Its terminal can serve 200 passengers per hour. All wide-body aircraft, including large cargo aircraft, will be able to land and take off easily at the airport.
Turkish companies also took part in the construction of the airport, which is equipped with automatic systems and has a control tower in compliance with international civil aviation and transportation standards.
- ‘Karabakh's gateway to world’
With the decree signed by Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov on Oct. 16, it was decided to give Fuzuli Airport the status of "international airport".
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has included the airport in the list of international airports with the FZL code. Thus, the airport will be Karabakh's gateway to the world.
The airport is expected to contribute to the development of tourism and trade in the region. Travelers going to Shusha, the symbolic city of Karabakh, will also be transported via this airport. The airport is approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Shusha and 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the capital Baku.
During one of his visits to the airport, Aliyev said: "The construction of the airport started this year. At that time, I said that Fuzuli International Airport will open this year. Perhaps no airport in the world has been built at this speed. The runway is ready. Final preparations are being made.”
Erdogan will head to Azerbaijan on Tuesday, his third visit since the liberation of the Karabakh region last November.
The Turkish leader visited Shusha in June, the country’s cultural capital that was occupied by Armenia for 28 years.
- Liberation of Karabakh
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian army launching repeated attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and also violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and some 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for nearly three decades.
The fighting ended on Nov. 10, 2020, after the two countries signed an agreement brokered by Russia.
* Writing by Gozde Bayar