TODAY.AZ / Politics

"Eagle" that never takes off-ANALYSIS

08 July 2024 [15:00] - TODAY.AZ
By Leyla Tarverdiyeva, Day.Az

President Ilham Aliyev visited Khojaly airport. As the owner, he busily walked around the territory, got acquainted with the reconstruction project of this air harbor, and gave the necessary instructions and recommendations.

The Armenian public is saddened by the "masterpiece" of architect Barseghyan, realizing that the building, like everything else built by the Armenians during the occupation, will be liquidated. Everything related to the period of the separatist regime's rule will be radically redone. Needless to say, serious changes are expected at Khojaly Airport. Today it has one runway (GDP), 2,170 metres long and 45 metres wide, two taxiways, one apron, one terminal and three aircraft parking lots. 

After the reconstruction, the length of the GDP will be increased to 3,000 metres and the width to 60 metres. The long-awaited changes await the appearance of the harbour. The new main building of Khojaly Airport will be radically different from the rough, heavy, pretentious "masterpiece" of the Armenian architect. It will be an airy, lightweight structure, shaped like an airplane. A great idea, by the way.  

The airport near Khankendi was built in 1974 with funds from Soviet Azerbaijan. In 1992, after the occupation of the Khojaly region by Armenia, the airport passed into the hands of Armenian gangs. Like many other things at that time, the instruction from Baku to destroy the runway and airfield equipment was not fulfilled, and the Armenians, although they burned the building, were able to use the airfield for military purposes.
The history of Khojaly airport is closely connected with the name of the National Hero of Azerbaijan, Alif Hajiyev. During the Soviet period, he worked in law enforcement agencies. After trying to expose the Krunk organisation, he ended up in court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. After Azerbaijan regained its independence, the verdict was overturned. Alif returned to his homeland, Karabakh, and began serving in the police force again. 

In December 1991, in an unequal battle, he recaptured the Khojaly air hub from the Armenian occupiers, for which he received the rank of major. Armenians have set a considerable reward for the head of a brave police officer. On the night of February 25-26, 1992, Alif Hajiyev's detachment fought for several hours for the airport with many times superior enemy forces. It was not possible to defend the airport in the current conditions, but they managed to blow up the control tower and destroy the documentation. 

The airport was captured and burned by the Armenians. Alif Hajiyev died after being ambushed near the Armenian village of Nakhichevanik while helping Khojaly residents flee the massacre...

In 2008, the occupation regime began to build a new main building. Although it was about the reconstruction of the Khojaly airport, the Armenian side stubbornly talked about a certain new "Stepanakert" airport. Apparently, in order not to remind once again about the genocide with which the world community associated the name Khojaly. The building was designed in the style beloved by our neighbours—in the form of an eagle spreading its wings. Armenians are very fond of eagle feathers, beaks, and claws; they have them everywhere. However, this "eagle", which cost them $ 5 million, was never destined to take off.

After the completion of the project in 2012, the Armenian side announced that the Khojaly airport had received an official international certificate and was put into operation. But it was a lie. Khojaly Airport is located on the internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan, and only the Azerbaijani side could apply to the ICAO regarding the certification of the air harbour. And she didn't do that, of course. On the contrary, she openly informed the OSCE and the ICAO that she would stop Armenia's attempts to use the airport.

Armenians in Armenia and in the occupied territories grabbed their suitcases, as the RA Civil Aviation Authority promised that flights would begin in the coming days. But the planes from Khojaly never took off. The warning was not a joke, and no matter how brave they were in Yerevan, the Armenians did not dare to start flights. Until the end of the occupation, the airport remained only an illegal military heliport of the occupying forces. Serzh Sargsyan is still reminded of his promise to become the first passenger on the Yerevan-Khankendi flight and prove that Azerbaijan is "bluffing", "will not dare", and so on. Despite the external bravado, Sargsyan knew perfectly well that Baku was not joking, saying that it would not allow violations of its airspace.

Taking into account that the Khojaly Airport is located in the region of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, and it is impossible to guarantee complete flight safety in these territories, according to the Law "On Aviation" this territory was declared a prohibited zone for civil aviation flights by the State Administration of Civil Aviation of Azerbaijan. Armenia's attempts to use the airport in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan were a direct violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation of December 7, 1944.

Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, without hysteria, calmly and therefore especially frighteningly warned that all international companies operating at the Khojaly airport should immediately suspend their activities in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Otherwise, the Azerbaijani side will take adequate steps towards these companies. In particular, it was about the Franco-German company Tales, which provided equipment for the Armenian dummy. After the Azerbaijani side protested, the company's representatives apologised and said that they had been misled.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), as well as the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), also supported the position of the Azerbaijani side on this issue. The ICAO Secretary General stated that he supports all resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council on the Karabakh conflict. He also stressed that attempts to unilaterally commission the Khojaly airport without the permission of the Azerbaijani side and carry out certification can cause great damage to the conflict settlement process and are assessed as a violation of the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation and international legal norms.

Thus, the eagle stood idle until the Second Karabakh War. After the Russian peacekeeping contingent entered the region, the Armenian side tried to take a cunning manoeuvre and use the airport under the cover of the needs of the RMK. The separatist regime was very surprised by the command of the peacekeepers with the "permission" to use the airport to provide RMK. 

The Armenian media claimed with full confidence that the airport would start functioning as early as December 2020 and would receive AN-12 and AN-26 military transport aircraft. As always, the Armenians forgot to ask permission from the legitimate owner? Thus, that stood idle until the Second Karabakh War. 

After the Russian peacekeeping contingent entered the region, the Armenian side tried to take a cunning manoeuvre and use the airport under the cover of the needs of the RMK. The separatist regime was very surprised by the command of the peacekeepers with the "permission" to use the airport to provide RMK. The Armenian media claimed with full confidence that the airport would start functioning as early as December 2020 and would receive AN-12 and AN-26 military transport aircraft. As always, the Armenians forgot to ask permission from the legitimate owners. 

Even if there had been Baku's permission (and it did not exist and could not have been), only heavy cargo liners of the Russian Aerospace Forces could have solved the issue of providing RMK, and the runway of the Khojaly airport was not suitable for them. It made no sense to build a new IDP and spend money from the Russian budget since Azerbaijan would not have allowed the airfield to be used anyway, besides, the duration of the peacekeepers' stay was limited.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/250408.html

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