YEREVAN, September 27. / ARKA /. The civic airport in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, has successfully passed the certification process and is ready to launch first commercial flights to and from Karabakh, Tigran Gabrielian, chief of staff of Civil Aviation Department of Karabakh, was quoted by Novosti-Armenia as saying.
"A commission of the Chief Civil Aviation Department of Armenia has made a series of checks to decide Stepanakert airport’s compliance with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The test was successful, and soon the airport will receive a certificate,” he said.
Gabrielian said initially the airport will be able to handle 100 passengers a day. The flights will be operated by recently established Air Artsakh airline.
Azerbaijani authorities would warn of “corresponding measures” if Nagorno-Karabakh resumed flights. The Azerbaijani State Civil Aviation Administration said that the planned Yerevan-Stepanakert flights would constitute an “invasion” of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized airspace and that “taking corresponding measures in connection with that is inevitable
But in a statement issued in July, the U.S., Russian, and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said they “received renewed assurances from the sides that they will reject any threat or use of force against civil aircraft, pursue the matter through diplomatic steps, and refrain from politicizing the issue.”
“The co-chairs reaffirmed that operation of this (Stepanakert) airport cannot be used to support any claim of a change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and urged the sides to act in accordance with international law and consistent with current practice for flights over their territory,” the statement added without elaborating. -0-