Comments by Silk Way Airlines with regard to recent publications in the Bulgarian media

13-07-2017

We herewith do have to clearly reject any of the accusations made in the articles as neither Silk Way Airlines nor its Group affiliates had been involved in any weapon trafficking nor The Group has been involved in similar transportations. All our flights ex Bulgaria have been run and organized under a full controlled regime, at the same time all flight destinations are clearly stipulated under full control of respective authorities in close cooperation with governmental agencies.

Our main hub in Baku is used by Silk Way Airlines as its main international air cargo gateway handling hundreds of thousands airfreight tons annually by not offering any services related to the article. We are recognized as a full member of the international aviation community and therefore are bound to international laws and conventions clearly stipulating the nature of flight operation and we are allowed to operate in full compliance with existing laws; moreover within a clear legal framework.

In nowadays world of transparency there is no room for any international flight operation not adhering to those legal standards.

First of all, all the mentioned articles refer to the so-told investigation of only one sole journalist- Dilyana Gaytandzhieva. This journalist was already fired from the Bulgarian “Trud” journal, for which she was working, for presenting such heavy accusations without any serious evidences. Coming to the articles, all of them are the various interpretations of the one original article by Dilyana Gaytandzhieva. In addition to being the interpretations of the original article, all of them were provided by the Armenian sources and taking into account the ongoing conflict between our countries they cannot be free from bias and reflect reality.

Coming to the accusation of using the diplomatic immunity - it is unclear on what Dilyana Gaytandzhieva bases her assertion that the leaked files (indeed the webpage of Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Bulgaria had been hacked) prove using a diplomatic immunity for military cargo transportation apart from her mistaken interpretation of the diplomatic clearance forms. Diplomatic clearance doesn’t provide any diplomatic immunity. It is a common practice in accordance with the requirements of IATA and ICAO, which grant the right to cargo and passenger aircraft to transport dangerous and military goods, given that the Airline has authorization requested through the Diplomatic Channels. Permits are issued through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the requested states. The Airline indicates full information about the nature of the cargo as well as information about the Sender and the consignee. The airline receives a special permit from the country of the Sender and the Consignee, as well as about the countries through which the aircraft flies. It is a common practice in majority of the countries.

As one can see, the procedure is typically the same in majority of the countries i.e the overflight request is given through diplomatic channels. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan also requires obtaining the verbal notes for obtaining single-entry diplomatic permission for the civil and military aircraft that belong to other states for the over-flight by military and civil aircraft carrying dangerous cargo and equipped with weapons, that should be sent to the State Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Private air carriers cannot carry dangerous goods without obtaining diplomatic permission from the state to which or over which it flies.

Please note that granting foreign state aircraft authorization for overflight does not refer to the granting of diplomatic immunity. Instead, it is a common procedure and international regulation to receive permission for transporting dangerous goods and military equipment across airspace of the other state.

It is important to note that our company is just a carrier and is not involved in illegal military supply or other illegal activity. Silk Way Airlines has not any partnerships or alliances with companies or the countries which are or were under any international sanctions.

It should be mentioned that other airlines also transport military cargo in accordance with the requirements of IATA and ICAO and have partnerships with Ministries of Defense of different countries. For example, the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), one of nine unified commands of the United States Department of Defense, has partnerships with such air carriers as Atlas Air, Miami Air International.