A new low-cost brand of Azerbaijan’s flag carrier is to born to help it better compete with the growing number of budget airlines that are entering its home market. Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) will introduce the AZALjet brand across a number of existing markets from Baku from the start of the summer 2016 schedules at the end of this month.
AZAL has already adopted aspects of the low-cost business model within its operations, charging passengers for baggage and inflight meals. This was first introduced on a trial basis on specific routes from August 2015 but was rolled-out across a wider network from February 1, 2016 and which has driven this move to establish a sub-brand to differentiate its operations.
"This business provides saving on a number of services that allows significantly reducing costs compared with classic air carriers. At the same time, we, as before, guarantee a high level of safety and service on all flights of Azerbaijan’s flag carrier," said Jahangir Asgarov, President, AZAL.
The introduction of the sub-brand will enable AZAL to compete with both full-service and the developing low-cost market in the country. Turkish Airlines’ affiliate Anadolu Jet already operates flights to the regions of Azerbaijan and from the end of this month Wizz Air will resume flights between Budapest and Baku.
Other budget carriers on Europe’s fringes are also understood to be considering launching flights into Azerbaijan, according to AZAL. These include Turkish carriers AtlasGlobal Airlines and Pegasus Airlines.