Azerbaijan Airline AZAL stated the contract with Boeing to purchase 10 737 MAX jets has not been cancelled but rather that both companies are working on negotiations.
“The implementation of the signed contract is scheduled for 2019-2024,” AZAL stated on June 3 adding, “contractual payments have already been made. These payments will be considered by Boeing Corporation in 2024.”
AZAL’s statement comes after a Boeing spokeperson told Reuters that the Azerbaijani airline has cancelled the $1 billion contract with Boeing to purchase 10 737 MAX jets.
“AZAL refused to buy 10 aircrafts from Boeing due to safety reasons,” Pasha Kesaminsy was quoted as saying by Reuters on June 3.
According to the report, the airline’s decision follows the fatal crashes involving the Ethiopian aircraft on March 10, which killed 157 people, and the disaster in Indonesian in October 2018, which had 189 casualties.
Economist Toghrul Mashalli says AZAL’s need to buy new aircrafts is related to its policy to expand its transport network.
“More flights mean more new aircrafts. Otherwise the airlines are forced to cancel flights. This is why AZAL’s flights to New York have been suspended," Mashalli told Meydan TV.
AZAL has said its Baku-New York-Baku flight will be suspended in October 2019, as the flight is not profitable.
Calling the flight “ineffective", Mashalli said, “seems like [AZAL] wants to operate more efficiently and therefore they continue cooperating [with Boeing]."
Many countries do not allow Boeing’s 737 MAX jets to use their airports for arrivals or departures.