09 July, 2024

Passenger traffic at Samarkand airport hits another historic high

Samarkand International Airport has continued its sustained growth at the beginning of 2024, with a record number of 647,085 passengers passing through the airport in the first six months of the year. 

47% growth in passenger numbers in the first six months of 2024

21 consecutive monthly increases in passengers, since October 2022

This was 47% more than the number recorded in 2023, with an additional 207,421 passengers using the new airport facility that acts as a gateway to Uzbekistan’s ancient and fast growing city in the heart of the famous Silk Road. 

Samarkand airport management company Air Marakanda has driven a doubling of passenger numbers in each of the past two years, with more than one million passengers using the new, state-of-the-art airport terminal for a first time in 2023. The total of 1,010,938 passengers beat the 2022 record, of 517,521, by 104.9% and this growth shows no sign of slowing. In fact, the number of passengers using the airport has increased over 21 consecutive months, since October 2022. 

Bakhtiyor Fazilov, the main shareholder of Air Marakanda, said: "The company’s main goal is to make Samarkand and Uzbekistan even more attractive to tourists by meeting international standards for air transportation services. The strong growth in passenger traffic demonstrates our success in achieving this goal. Air Marakanda will continue providing excellent service for all passengers, in order to make Samarkand International Airport the preferred choice for all travellers seeking to visit the ancient, and eternally young, city of Samarkand.” 

Air Marakanda CEO Ulugbek Shamsikulov said: “We continue to attract more airlines and increased frequency from existing carriers to meet the demand from international passengers wanting to visit our historic city. The opening of our new terminal at the beginning of 2022, together with other major investments in our city, including the Silk Road Samarkand tourist centre and other 21st century infrastructure, will continue to attract a growing number of tourists and business travellers. Samarkand International Airport is playing a pivotal part in the growth and success of Samarkand.” 

The airport recently welcomed Chinese low-cost carrier Loong Air, which began operating flights from Samarkand airport to Xi'an (China). New home carrier Air Samarkand opened direct flights to Istanbul (Turkey), while also operating charter flights to Nha Trang (Vietnam) and Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt). 

Further international passenger traffic growth has been driven from the cities of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul, Moscow and St. Petersburg, which together delivered 612,963 passengers, equivalent to an increase of 56% over 2023.

Samarkand has also been attracting a growing number of domestic traffic, with 34,122 passengers arriving from the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent. 

Since the beginning of 2024, Samarkand International Airport’s route network has expanded to two domestic and 24 international routes. Of these, Turkistan, Tyumen, Irkutsk, Nizhny Novgorod and Xi'an were added as new destinations. 

Air Marakanda was established in 2020 to operate airports, provide passenger, baggage and airline services, cargo and mail handling, and aircraft maintenance and commercial services. It attracts local and foreign aviation specialists with international experience in civil aviation. 

The airport manager’s strategic priorities are: compliance with international aviation safety requirements, implementation of measures that contribute to environmental protection, modernisation of airport infrastructure and a drive to improve passenger service and satisfaction.