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Azerbaijan to Establish Direct Air Link with U.S.

Azerbaijan and the U.S. agencies signed an agreement in Washington, D.C. last week on a technical assistance that will assist Azerbaijan in meeting International Civil Aviation Organization standards of aviation safety and security oversight. Strengthening civil aviation safety and security oversight in Azerbaijan is the goal of a grant awarded last week to the State Civil Aviation Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SCAA) by USTDA. The grant will provide a second phase of technical assistance to the SCAA.

The grant was conferred during a signing ceremony at a reception hosted by the Embassy of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 3rd meeting of the Azerbaijan-U.S. Economic Partnership Commission. USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak and SCAA Director General Arif Mammadov signed the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. and Azeri governments, respectively. The Minister of Finance for Azerbaijan, Mr. Samir Sharifov, was also in attendance.

In recent years the Azerbaijan economy has been among the fastest growing in the world. As a result, demand for a wide range of goods and services is growing rapidly, including demand for both passenger and cargo flights into and out of the country. To meet this growing demand, Azerbaijan Airlines and Silk Way Airlines signed contracts for long haul Boeing aircraft with the expectation that they will be able to provide direct service to the U.S. in the near future. For them to do so, SCAA will need to successfully complete the Federal Aviation Administration's International Safety Assessment Program audit and obtain Category I status.

"Helping SCAA obtain Category I status will enable Azeri national flag air carriers to provide direct service to the U.S., which will help facilitate trade between the two countries," stated Director Zak. "We are pleased to partner with SCAA again in this endeavor."

The SCAA has selected The Wicks Group PLLC of Washington, DC as the contractor for this activity. Azerbaijan Airlines and Silk Way Airlines will contribute additional funds toward the activity's successful completion.

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