Uzbekistan airports open to foreign airlines

In order to radically increase the flow of foreign tourists to the republic by solving existing problems in the air transportation system in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures for the further development of the tourism sector in the Republic of Uzbekistan”, the Open Skies mode will be introduced at Karshi, Nukus and Termez international airports from 1 October 2019, using the “fifth air freedom”, and also Bukhara with the same freedom to transport foreign citizens.


The head of the department to promote the improvement of the transportation system of the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Development of Tourism Zafarjon Vohidov commented on the Open Skies mode.


Open Skies is liberalization and facilitation of access and conditions for using the country’s air harbors for foreign airlines. It is used to increase tourist flow and develop its potential as a regional aviation hub. Open Skies opens the market for international airlines to airports and their ground services in the country.


The key principles of the “open skies” are not only the granting of rights to transit flights, but also the non-interference of the government in pricing, the appointment of routes and airlines, as well as the absence of restrictions on the types of aircraft and their capacities. The application of the “open skies” policy in the world has allowed to increase passenger turnover up to 35% on average (without it it would be 8%). She also reduced airfare prices from 20 to 40%.


Open Skies will also create tens of thousands of jobs, he said. For example, the agreement between Australia and New Zealand provided 40 thousand people with work, and the liberal air regime in Singapore created 163 thousand direct jobs. In general, today civil aviation in the world employs 63 million people and its contribution is 3.5% of global GDP.


It should be noted that airspace freedoms are a set of civil aviation rules that entitle airlines of one country to enter the airspace of another country and land on its territory. These rules are formulated as a result of disagreements about the degree of aviation liberalization laid down in the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation.


Now, what is the term fifth freedom? “Fifth Freedom – gives airlines the right to carry passengers and cargo from one foreign state to another when flying to their country. The fifth freedom is necessary for an airline to carry passengers not only from point A to point B and from point A to point C (with an intermediate landing at point B), but also from point B to point C (A-> B-> C) and back.


Passengers are primarily attracted by low-cost flights from point B to point C and vice versa. Due to the fact that some passengers fly only to point B, the airline always has free seats when flying from point B to point C, which it tries to load as much as possible, using special prices, in which case the passenger can often make an air flight for short distances on a long-range aircraft such as B747 / 777, A330 / A340, ”Vohidov explains.


“Open Skies” are joined by countries where domestic airlines are not able to fully satisfy the existing or potential demand among the population and foreign tourists. “For example, Russia is pursuing an open skies policy for airports in Sochi, Kaliningrad and Vladivostok, Israel is quite successfully pursuing such a policy with respect to its main Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, and EU countries are applying an open skies policy for air carriers to provide equal opportunities to airlines of the EU countries within the common aviation market.


In particular, the successful experience of Israel shows that both local airlines and the entire country as a whole benefit from this policy. After initiating the “open skies” policy from 2013 to 2017, passenger traffic at Ben Gurion Airport increased from 13 to 20 million people, and the air harbor was included in the list of leading airports in the world, Vohidov said.


Also, a recent successful example is Armenia, which over the past two years has been able to open 12 new international routes involving 12 airlines. It is important to emphasize that if a country pursues an “open skies” policy, it should simplify the rules for the use of its airspace and airports as much as possible, minimize the costs associated with providing services for the use of its airspace, especially provide competitive prices for jet fuel.


“When deciding whether airlines fly or not to a specific country, two key factors matter: the cost of jet fuel and the cost of servicing at airports. The current rates in Uzbekistan for both jet fuel and airport taxes are not competitive. There are estimates that the current fees for air navigation services for foreign airlines in the country exceed the amounts established in countries comparable to Uzbekistan in the region. The aforementioned Presidential Decree has practically solved this problem, the question is only time, it remains only to execute the order in a timely and high-quality manner.


Thus, Uzbekistan Airports, on the proposals of international airports of the republic, has the right to independently determine and set rates and fees for services provided by airports for non-resident airlines, expand and modernize the infrastructure necessary for storing aviation fuel and fuel and lubricants of the airport.


Most importantly, they can independently conclude direct agreements with local or foreign suppliers of jet fuel and fuels and lubricants, as well as sell them to local and foreign airlines operating flights to international airports of the country, including transit ones, ”added the Head of Improvement Promotion Department transportation systems.

Most importantly, now foreign airlines, which are interested in establishing flights with cities that have introduced the “open skies” regime at airports, are turning to the Ministry of Transport to obtain permission to operate flights and Uzbekistan Airports to obtain a slot. At the same time, the Decree spells out all measures for the successful implementation of the “open skies” regime.


In particular, before the end of this year, an inventory and revision of intergovernmental agreements of the Republic of Uzbekistan on air traffic is carried out in order to expand cooperation and increase the geography of flights. The introduction of the “open skies” regime is expected to significantly increase the number of foreign tourists and there is a need to establish domestic transport.


To address this issue, the Ministry of Transport, together with Uzbekistan Temir Yollari, has been tasked with developing a plan to ensure transport links – bus and rail links between cities of the country and neighboring countries to create convenient logistics for passengers at international airports. In addition, in connection with the introduction of the “open skies” regime at the airports “Karshi”, “Nukus”, “Termez” and “Bukhara”, it is planned to reconstruct runways, taxiways, command and control centers, aeronautical equipment and stationary ground communication centers.


“In general, “open skies” will strengthen the country’s civil aviation, satisfy the growing need of the population for diversified and affordable air tickets and cargo transportation, as well as ensure a high level of flight safety due to the rejuvenation of the fleet. At the same time, it contributes to the expansion of the geography of flights through transit between Asia, Europe and the Middle East, a significant reduction in the price of airline tickets, the development of domestic low-cost airlines in the air transportation market, the involvement of international management companies in the field of aviation and the development of business aviation,” Zafarjon Vohidov said.


It should be noted that the timely and high-quality implementation of the above tasks will serve as a cardinal change in the number and geography of foreign tourists, especially tourists from foreign countries.