Silk Way Airlines
|Hubs||Heydar Aliyev International Airport|
|Company slogan||We are restoring old routes by air cargo transportation.|
|Parent company||SW Group|
Silk Way Airlines is an Azerbaijani private cargo airline with its head office and flight operations at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan. It operates freight services linking Europe and Asia, United States and Africa, as well as services for government and non-governmental organisations.
The company was founded in 2001 and started commercial flights on 6 October 2001. In early 2015 a contract was being negotiated for another 3 Boeing 747-8 freighters. In May 2015 the airline was announced as the launch customer for the Antonov An-178 after placing an order for 10 aircraft. In 2017, the company signed purchase of 10 more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with total cost of $1B.
As of April 2013, Silk Way Airlines offers scheduled flights to the following destinations:
The Silk Way Airlines fleet consists of the following freighter aircraft (as of August 2016):
|Boeing 747-8F||9||—||2 additional aircraft planned|
Cargo and munitions transportation
In July 2017, an investigation by the leading Bulgarian daily newspaper Trud, which has a reputation for investigative crime reporting, revealed how Silk Way Airlines exploited a loophole in the international aviation and transport regulations to offer flights to arms manufacturers and private companies – with much of the cargo heading for known terrorist enclaves in Syria, and also to other conflict zones including Central Asia and Africa. Under the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, the transport of military cargo by civil aircraft is not allowed. To get around this legality, Silk Way Airlines applied for diplomatic exemption for aircraft and their cargo (diplomatic charter flights), through local agencies to transport heavy weapons, ammunition, and white phosphorus across the world to several war zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria, as well as to African countries like Congo and Burkina Faso.
The published documents included correspondence between the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Azerbaijan to Bulgaria with attached documents for weapons deals and diplomatic clearance for overflight and/or landing in Bulgaria and many other European countries, USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and other countries. The documents disclosed that American weapons manufacturers had shipped over $1 billion of weapons through Silk Way Airlines, corporate subcontractors included ″Purple Shovel LLC″ based in Sterling, Virginia, US Department of Defense subcontracting vehicle ″Culmen International LLC″ based in Alexandria, weapons and defense procurement firm ″Chemring Military Products″ based in Perry, Florida. When Silk Way Airlines did not have enough available planes, Azerbaijan’s Air Force jets would transport the military shipments. In the investigation, the reporter accused responsible authorities of many countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, as well as to the militaries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, the military forces of Germany and Denmark in Afghanistan and of Sweden in Iraq, and the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)) to "have turned a blind eye and allowed diplomatic flights for the transport of tons of weapons, carried out by civil aircrafts [sic] for military needs."
Incidents and accidents
- On 7 November 2002, at 11:30 local time, Silk Way Airlines Flight 4132, which was operated using an Antonov An-12 (registered 4K-AZ21) overshot the runway upon landing at N'Djamena International Airport in Chad. The aircraft was destroyed, but the six crew members on board survived.
- On 6 July 2011, at 00:10 local time, a Silk Way Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 (registered 4K-AZ55) crashed into a mountain 25 kilometers short of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, killing all of the crew of nine people on board the cargo flight from Baku, which was operating on behalf of NATO.
- On 18 May 2016, a Silk Way Airlines Antonov An-12 crashed during takeoff at Dwyer Airport in southern Afghanistan, killing 7 of the 9 crew members on board the cargo flight to Mary International Airport.
- "Contact." Silk Way Airlines. Retrieved on 25 August 2011. "Head office Heydar Aliyev International Airport AZ1044 Baku, Azerbaijan."
- "ATDB.aero aerotransport.org AeroTransport Data Bank". www.aerotransport.org. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "Silk Way Eyes More 747-8s". Airliner World: 10. March 2015.
- "Antonovs for Silk Way". Airliner World (July 2015): 8.
- Holding, APA Information Agency, APA. "Silk Way Airlines to purchase ten Boeing-737 MAX aircrafts [sic] for $1B". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- Silk Way Airlines timetable at silkway-airlines.com
- "Silk Way Airlines signs a firm order for ten Antonov An-178 freighters after the successful first flight". World Airline News.
- "Boeing". boeing.mediaroom.com.
- Dilyana Gaytandzhieva: 350 diplomatic flights carry weapons for terrorists, Trud, 2. July 2017
- John Herbert (2001). "Practising Global Journalism: Exploring Reporting Issues Worldwide, Focal Press". Oxford and Woburn, MA. p. 186. ISBN 978-0240516028.
- Azerbaijani Silk Way Airlines carries out 350 diplomatic flights transporting weapons for terrorists – scandalous investigation, Armenpress, 4 July 2017
- ‘These documents implicate Azerbaijan in international weapons supply for terrorists’ – Bulgarian journalist’s exclusive interview, Armenpress, 5 July 2017
- Azerbaijan's Silk Way Airlines Accused of Transporting Weapons to War Zones, Meydan TV, 7 July 2017
- Harut Sassounian: The U.S. and Europe Must Investigate Azerbaijani Shipments of Weapons to Terrorists, The Armenian Weekly, 11 July 2017
- Report: Saudi, UAE weapons end up with armed groups, Al Jazeera, 27 August 2017
- Harro Ranter (7 November 2002). "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 12BK 4K-AZ21 Kome". aviation-safety.net.
- Harro Ranter (6 July 2011). "ASN Aircraft accident Ilyushin 76TD 4K-AZ55 Bagram Air Base (BPM)". aviation-safety.netaviation-safety.net.
- "The Aviation Herald". avherald.com.
- "Azerbaijani plane crash victims identified". Reuters. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
Media related to Silk Way Airlines at Wikimedia Commons
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