Tajikistan’s first privately owned air company, Somon Air, operated a test flight to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
The airline was operating the test flight to Tashkent with a delegation of the Tajik civil aviation authorities on board.
Meanwhile, regular flights are expected every Monday from February 20, onward.
Somoni Air has said in an official statement that it would fly once a week until the end of the winter season, but that frequency could increase to twice a week in summer.
“This new route and its frequency will give the citizens of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the opportunity to simplify their travels between the two nations,” Somon Air said.
Tajik Deputy Minister of Transport Sherali Ganjalzoda said on January 30, that air traffic between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan would be re-launched after the signing of an appropriate government-to-government agreement.
According to him, Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) National Air Company Uzbekistan Airways (O‛zbekiston Havo Yo‛llari) and Tajikistan’s private air carrier, Somon Air, will operate flights between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Uzbekistan Airways top manager Valery Tyan said that Uzbek national air company would launch a number of new air routes this year. Flights between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will be restored in the near future, Tyan said.
“A government-to-government agreement has been finalized and it is now ready for signing,” Tyan said. “The Uzbek and Tajik civil aviation authorities are currently tackling the issue of avoiding double taxation and visa issues. We are practically ready to start”.
The air communication between Dushanbe and Tashkent was cut off in 1992 at Tashkent’s initiative and the issue of resumption of the direct air communication between the two countries has been raised at meetings between state officials of the two countries more than once.
Somon Air is the first private airline in Tajikistan with an office headquartered in Dushanbe. The airline operations are based at Dushanbe International Airport. The airline started operating on February 5, 2008 with regular flights to Moscow and Dubai.
Somon Air also serves as the official carrier of President of the Republic of Tajikistan and other Tajikistan high-ranking officials.
Somon Air has been primarily focused on passenger service and transportation to Eastern Europe and other locations. Most flights to international destinations operate from Dushanbe.
The airline uses the Boeing 737 in its fleet. Somon Air now operates 2 Boeing 737-300s, 2 Boeing 737-800s and 2 Boeing 737-900ERs.
Somon Air now operates to the following destinations: Afghanistan (Kabul); China (Urumqi); Germany (Frankfurt am Main); Kazakhstan (Almaty); Pakistan (Lahore); Russia (Irkutsk, Khanty-Mansisysk, Kazan, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Orenburg, St. Petersburg, Nizhnevartovsk, Tuymen and Yekaterinburg); Saudi Arabia (Jeddah); Tajikistan (Khujand); Turkey (Istanbul); Ukraine (Simferopol); and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai). (News.tj/Business World Magazine)