ROUTES SILK ROAD: AZAL to Launch Premium 727 Operation to Geneva

Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) will this week introduce a premium Business Class-only operation between its hub at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport and thew Swiss city of Geneva. The airline will launch the twice weekly service on July 11, 2014 using a Boeing 727 configured with seven First Class and 58 Business Class seats.

The flights will be operated in partnership with Silkway Travel and according to a statement from AZAL will allow passengers to ”have the opportunity to spend their weekend in Geneva, improve health or spend vacation in Switzerland - country with the most beautiful mountains and lakes.” The flights will operate every Friday and Sunday with morning flight departures.

This will be the first scheduled air link between Baku and Geneva and in fact the only non-stop flight offering between Azerbaijan and Switzerland. According to MIDT data there is a small but growing demand between the two cities with passenger numbers rising in each of the last six years to just under 7,500 bi-directional O&D passengers, an average annual growth rate of 29.0 per cent across the period.

In our analysis, below, we highlight this growth in passenger demand between Baku and Geneva and in particular the demand in the premium cabins, which accounts for over a quarter of the total annual passenger numbers on the route. In 2013 the average one-way fare charged for First Class tickets was $10,882 while Business Class average ticket prices were $1,898 each way. This compares with $855 in the Economy cabin and $519 discount fares.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…