Azerbaijan Airlines Cancels New York Flights

Filed Under: Other Airlines

As you guys know, I’m a huge fan of seeking out routes that others may find to be a bit unusual. For example, looking at New York JFK alone, I’d say my three most “unusual” flights out of the airport have been on AZAL Azerbaijan to Baku, on Uzbekistan Airways to Tashkent, and on Pakistan Airlines from Manchester.

PIA canceled their flight from Manchester a while back, and now another one of these routes will be discontinued.

Azerbaijan Airlines will discontinue their route between Baku and New York as of September 30, 2019. This is their only flight to the US, so it also means that they’re discontinuing service to the US altogether.

The route currently operates 2x weekly with the following schedule on Saturdays and Mondays:

J2101 Baku to New York departing 5:00AM arriving 9:30AM
J2102 New York to Baku departing 11:30AM arriving 6:30AM (+1 day)

Azerbaijan uses a Boeing 787-8 for the route. The airline has two of these in their fleet, each featuring 210 seats, including 18 business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 157 economy seats.

Azerbaijan Airlines 787 business class

Azerbaijan Airlines 787 premium economy

As is the case with many airlines operating to New York, the route just seems to have not been as profitable as the airline had hoped. Azerbaijan Airlines launched this route in November 2015, so it looks like it lasted for just under four years.

One of the things that made this flight interesting was that for a long time the country granted special visa privileges to visitors taking this flight. While you otherwise needed to arrange a visa through a consulate, taking this flight allowed you to get a visa on arrival in Baku. Since my visit a few years ago the country has eased entry requirements so this is no longer the case, though I did always find that to be interesting.

Baku, Azerbaijan

If you’re curious what this very interesting flight is like, read my review of Azerbaijan’s 787 business class from New York to Baku.

I’ll be sad not to occasionally see Azerbaijan Airlines 787s at JFK anymore. They have one of the coolest liveries in the world, in my opinion.

Are you surprised to see AZAL cutting their JFK flight?

(Tip of the hat to Tim)

  1. Too late for UA. Ethiopian Airlines Launches a new service from JFK. This is in addition to the Newark flight.
    Well, One airlines loss another airlines gain.
    after all , the New York market is not as bad as it seems,

  2. I took this flight round trip in business class in February of 2016 and found it excellent, other than the IFE which was almost non-existent. The meal service consisted of a seemingly endless offering of small plates and the service itself was professional if a bit distant (the FAs spoke passable English but there was clearly a language barrier). Both of the flights I was on appeared full in coach, and about half-full in business. But the coach fares were also very low so the load factor is hardly an indicator of whether the flight was financially viable. Business was about $2500 r/t which was reasonable for a 12-hour flight and MUCH less than any connecting service such as LH. The new airport in Baku is very impressive and generally easy to navigate, and the city itself is fascinating with great food and great history. So it’s too bad we’re losing this direct connection to such an interesting and important part of the world.

  3. “As is the case with many airlines operating to New York, the route just seems to have not been as profitable as the airline had hoped”.

    -Yeah, no. NY is the most lucrative O&D market in the US and among the top in the world, in spite of challenging airports, airspace, and operations. All that being said, airlines aren’t lining up to pull out of the NY market, unless they are vanity routes, and this one likely fit the bill. 2 x week service means less business traffic and it’s likely TK and LH probably have that sector of the market covered. The rest is VFR and the 5AM departure from Baku can’t be good. The traffic was likely just not there, beyond VFR.

  4. Is it me or does their business class hard product look almost exactly like Turkish Airlines business class 777 ?

  5. If PIA had a great product, then I know they would be able to make New York work. Manchester also has a big Pakistani population. The fact that people kept flying them so long with such a dated product means something. Imagine how much they could grow by just having a decent product, let alone world class. People value nonstops and less travel time, especially for Pakistanis coming from America (which takes at least 18 hours with a stop).

  6. You don’t have to say “in my opinion”. You’re writing the article. It’s also a blog. We understand and it is implied it’s your opinion.

  7. @Ric – the seat is actually fairly common, used by (Azal and) eg TK, LO, CA, AI. I love that seat and TKs finishes are the best.

  8. @K – There is a possibility he could be using someone else’s opinion, in which case, it helps to clarify whose opinion it actually is.

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