WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) hosted a briefing on how Boeing 777 Freighters are reshaping the Central Eurasian air cargo market. The webinar featured four speakers. They included: Vugar Mammadov, the Vice President of SilkWay West Airlines, Jenny Zhao, the Vice President for the Asia-Pacific Region at SilkWay West Airlines, Monte Frazier, the Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing for Russia & the CIS at Boeing, and Thomas Crabtree, the Regional Director for Airline Market Analysis at Boeing Company.
Given Silkway’s recent purchase of five Boeing 777 Freighters, Vugar Mammadov said that SilkWay’s main goal is to increase cargo capacity and expand the geographic reach of its network. This includes adding new destinations to SilkWay’s network. Mr. Mammadov said that SilkWay West Airlines is aiming to increase the number of flights to the region of North America and especially to the United States. Currently, SilkWay West Airlines operates five flights to Chicago a week, and SilkWay plans to operate 25 flights to Chicago in the month of July. Mr. Mammadov also mentioned that SilkWay West Airlines is entering the global pharmaceutical market by transporting pharmaceuticals, and he plans for it to be a smooth transition.
SilkWay West Airlines was honored as “Cargo Airline of the Year 2020” by South Korea’s Incheon Airport. Jenny Zhao said that during the pandemic, SilkWay West Airlines added Japan to its network. This will allow for flights between Baku and Tokyo. This is a part of the airline’s goal to expand its network from Azerbaijan to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. She also said that SilkWay wants to grow its supply chain in the coming decades.
Monte Frazier emphasized the ideal geographical location of Azerbaijan, as the nation is positioned to connect primarily Asia to Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Frazier said that 60% of the world’s GDP is concentrated within this range. He pointed out that tourism is a key to having a diversified economy and anticipates that international travel to Azerbaijan will come back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and 2023.
Thomas Crabtree spoke about how the demand for freighter aircraft is the highest he has seen in this industry. He said that the global air freighter fleet is going to grow by 60% by 2039. SilkWay has been a leader in modernizing its fleet during COVID-19. Mr. Crabtree shared that while air cargo is a niche industry, air cargo is the best value it has ever been. In a presentation, he shared how East Asia will play a critical role and will lead to industry growth, especially between East Asia and North America. This is good news for Azerbaijan, said Mr.Crabtree. Given Azerbaijan’s advantageous location, SilkWay West Airlines will help facilitate air trade in many key markets globally.
Speaker remarks followed by a brief question and answer session at the end, where participants asked questions to the four speakers.
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