Silk Way West wins U.S. foreign carrier permit

After a two-year bureaucratic battle with a rival carrier, Silk Way West Airlines has been granted a foreign carrier air permit by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), allowing the carrier to offer both scheduled and chartered cargo flights between Baku and New York’s JFK Airport.

The Azerbaijani carrier’s 2014 application was initially opposed by National Airlines, which argued that Silk Way had failed to provide, “information required under the Department’s Rules.” The DOT, however, ruled in Silk Way’s favor, paving the way for increased flights between the two countries. The ruling is “effective immediately, for a period of two years,” and allows three carriers, Silk Way, Silk Way West and SW Italia to operate all-cargo services into the U.S.

The back-and-forth between the two parties grew testy, at times, with Silk Way West accusing National of, “attempting to game the system for delay rather than making an earnest effort to articulate and resolve any valid issue.” In a separate letter, counsel for the Azerbaijani carrier urged National to, “act in good faith and pursue its own operations, using the newly available bilateral framework [open skies] without perpetuating adversarial proceedings with the sole goal of holding the other carriers from pursuing their planned operations.” Azerbaijan and the U.S. signed an open skies agreement in April 2016.

Silk Way West Airlines offers scheduled and ad-hoc flights to destinations across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Days earlier, the carrier announced the delivery of its fourth 747-8F.

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