MIAMI – Azerbaijan has inaugurated Fuzuli International Airport (FZL). Built in less than a year, FZL promises to become a lifeline for the region.

Right after taking back control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in late 2020, the government of Azerbaijan began an ambitious series of projects to revamp the war-torn region’s infrastructure. Among the government’s plans was the FZL project.

The airport, built on an airdrome abandoned for almost 30 years and surrounded by former minefields, will primarily serve the city of Shusha, Azerbaijan’s cultural capital.

As soon as a peace deal was brokered by Moscow, authorities began to de-mine the former conflict zone around FZL. The airport’s foundation was laid on January 14 by President Ilham Aliyev. Works then continued on a 24-hour-per-day basis.

On September 5, the runway was completed and the first landing took place. An Airbus A340-500, belonging to the national flag carrier, Azerbaijan Airlines (AHY), which took off from the capital Baku, made the symbolic landing.

A subsequent test flight on the same day by a Boeing 747-400F belonging to cargo airline Silkway (7L) also made a successful landing.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on October 26 and was attended by the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan.

FZL is located southwest of Azerbaijan. Photo: Karte: NordNordWest, Lizenz: Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 de

The Airport

During one of his visits to the airport, Aliyev stated, “The construction of this airport started this year. Back then, I said that Fuzuli International Airport would open this year. Possibly no airport in the world has been built at this speed.”

According to state news outlet Azertag, FZL is equipped with primary and secondary surveillance radar, as well as an instrument landing system (ILS), thus satisfying all relevant ICAO and IATA requirements.

The terminal has the capacity to handle 200 passengers an hour and can accommodate wide-body aircraft. The single runway is 3,000 meters long and 60 meters wide. No official announcements were made regarding future airline operations. FZL is located 300km from the capital Baku.

Featured image: Fuzuli International Airport under construction in Fuzuli, Azerbaijan in late August 2021. Photo: By, CC BY 4.0,