Showing posts with label Samarkand International Airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Samarkand International Airport. Show all posts

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.” 

19 June, 2024

New Direct Flights to Xi'an in China from Samarkand International Airport, Uzbekistan.

A new direct service to Xi'an, the administrative centre of Shaanxi Province (China), has been launched from Samarkand International Airport.

The first flight, operated by Loong Air, landed at Samarkand at 12:08 local time yesterday (Sunday), and was given a traditional water cannon welcome upon arrival on the taxiway. Passengers, who included a delegation of airline executives, tour operators and representatives of the Chinese media, were also greeted with a traditional Uzbek welcome of karnaya and surnaya folk music.

Upon landing, the captain of the Airbus A320 aircraft, together with Lu Hongkun, General Director of Loong Air, Ulugbek Shamsikulov, General Director of Air Marakanda, Dmitry Martynenko. Air Marakanda’s Commercial Director, and Rustam Kobilov, Deputy Khokim of the Samarkand region responsible for tourism, culture, cultural heritage and mass communications, together cut a ribbon to mark the start of the Xi'an-Samarkand- Xi'an service.

A thematic photo zone in the new Samarkand airport terminal was set up for the newly arrived passengers and guests, alongside an Uzbek-style tea ceremony providing national treats, and an area for calligraphic inscriptions in Farsi, made on locally produced Samarkand mulberry paper.

Welcome speeches were given by management of Air Marakanda, the airport management company for Samarkand International Airport, by executives from Loong Air, as well as the Deputy Khokim Kobilov.

Mr. Shamsikulov said: “The opening of direct flights to Xi'an will have a positive impact on both the cultural and economic development linking our countries, as we begin to build the tourism potential of both cities.”

Flights on this route will be operated twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, with an Airbus 320 aircraft designed to carry 174 passengers.


31 May, 2024

Samarkand International Airport one of Europe’s fastest growing

Samarkand International Airport (SKD) has one of the highest growth records of any airport in Europe, official figures underline.

New data released by the European airport industry organisation ACI Europe, show that SKD has grown by 158.9% since pre-Covid pandemic figures of 2019. This represents the third-largest growth of any airport measured by ACI Europe, which represents over 500 airports in 55 countries. 

SKD is second-only, in terms of growth, to the Albanian capital of Tirana among medium-size airports. It saw passenger numbers increase by 232.3%, while Babimost in western Poland led the small airport section by growing 164.6%. 

This is a first time that Samarkand has been classed in the ‘Medium’ size airport category for facilities with between 1-10 million annual passengers, having surpassed the one million-mark for a first ever year in 2023. Since opening its new international terminal at the beginning of 2022, SKD has more than doubled passenger volumes in each of the past two years and been ranked among the top 10 regional airport leaders in the Central Asian region by the World Airport Awards (SKYTRAX) international airport rating. 

Ulugbek Shamsikulov, newly appointed CEO of Air Marakanda, says: "The progressive policies of our Government and investment by our owner in this 21st century, state-of-the-art airport, are together delivering passenger growth. But we are only just embarking on our journey to attract further visitors to Samarkand and Uzbekistan, who will help to drive growth in our economy.” 

Mr Shamsikulov continues: “We see significant demand for domestic and international travel from this area and from airlines bringing overseas visitors to explore our incredible ancient city of Samarkand. We will continue to grow our network during the summer season, as airlines increase capacity on existing routes and as we open new city connections with Samarkand.” 

SKD continues to outstrip average passenger growth figures achieved elsewhere, ACI Europe reporting a 10.2% increase in March carryings against 2023. Traffic came close to full recovery from pre-pandemic volumes, ending just -1.5% below March 2019 figures. ACI says figures for Q1 2024 are 10.2% up on last year and just -1.3% below Q1 2019. 

Samarkand International Airport is among only 43% of airports in Europe to have shown growth when compared to pre-pandemic passenger volumes. It is well ahead of the 2.8% average growth in the Europe3 region that incorporates the nations of Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. 

18 May, 2024

Uzbekistan airport operator Air Marakanda announces new CEO

Air Marakanda, which manages Samarkand International Airport (SKD), has named Ulugbek Shamsikulov as its new Chief Executive Officer.  He replaces Anton Khojayan, who is moving to a new position in a state project.

Mr Shamsikulov said: “Under his excellent leadership, Anton has made a significant contribution to the development and modernisation of SKD, including the construction of our stunning new state-of-the-art terminal facility. We wish him every success moving forward.  I look forward to continuing the strategic vision to continue the growth of our airport’s route network and improvement in the quality of service enjoyed by passengers.”

Mr Shamsikulov brings three decades of aviation industry experience, after beginning his professional career as an engineer in Samarkand Airport’s Department of Development and Foreign Economic Relations. Having been promoted through a number of key posts, in 2013 he became a director of the airport, before departing in 2017. He returned a year later to the airport's emergency services and more recently has led the airport's airside ground operations.

The first major airport project in Uzbekistan to be built in a public-private partnership, Samarkand’s international terminal opened in early 2022, and doubled passenger numbers in each of its first two years. One million passengers used the airport for the first time in 2023.

SKD has already enjoyed continuing growth at the start of 2024, with 294,000 passengers using the ultra-modern airport terminal in the first three months of the calendar year, an increase of 39% on the same period of 2023. This helped SKD to report 55% growth in passenger numbers during the autumn-winter period (AWP) season, with 491,000 passengers using the terminal between 29 October 2023 and 30 March 2024. 

04 April, 2024

Samarkand International Airport reports 55% increase in autumn-winter passengers as impressive growth record continues.

Samarkand International Airport (SKD) has reported continued growth during the autumn-winter period (AWP) season, with more than 491,000 passengers (+55%) using the airport between 29 October 2023 and 30 March 2024.  And in the first three months of 2024, 294,000 passengers have used the ultra-modern airport terminal, a 39% increase on the same period of 2023. 

Passenger numbers at SKD have previously more than doubled in each of the past two years, following the opening of the airport’s state-of-the-art terminal facility at the beginning of 2022. Passenger volumes topped one million for the first time at the end of 2023. 

Airport management company Air Marakanda reported a big increase in the number of carriers using SKD for the first time during the 2023/24 AWP season – namely Red Wings, SunExpress, Humo Air, Ural Airlines, Qazaq Air and Centrum Air. New routes now connect Samarkand with Izmir, Jeddah, Kazan, Tashkent, Turkestan and Yekaterinburg. 

SKD also welcomed the launch of Air Samarkand, the first carrier to base itself at the airport. After beginning with a charter flight programme, Air Samarkand commenced scheduled services to Istanbul on 21st March, and is soon expected to launch to other new destinations.
The airport has also seen low-cost carrier Pobeda increase flight frequency to Moscow from 4 to 9 times a week, while Uzbekistan Airways has increased its Moscow services from 4 to 5 times a week, and to St. Petersburg to 3 times weekly. Utair introduced twice weekly services to Saint Petersburg, Qanot Sharq Airlines doubled flight frequency to Jeddah to four rotations a week, and the regional carrier Silk Avia increased flights to Tashkent to a weekly service. 

18 March, 2024

Air Samarkand gets ready for scheduled flights launch and appoints a new CEO

Photo Air Samarkand
Air Samarkand is to commence its scheduled flight programme on Thursday, 21st March, operating on the Samarkand - Istanbul - Samarkand route with its Airbus A321neo aircraft. In the initial phase, return services will operate twice a week, departing on Mondays and Thursdays from Samarkand International Airport (SKD) to Istanbul International Airport (IST), with a scheduled flight time of about 5 hours.

Air Samarkand has also announced the appointment of Zafar Butaev as its new CEO, succeeding Anton Khodiayan, who will continue serving as an advisor to the airline while reverting to his position as Director General of the airport management company Air Marakanda.  Zafar Butaev is an Uzbekistani entrepreneur who has spent more than 15 years working in the tourism, hospitality and service sectors, creating two companies that together now employ more than 500 people. Currently, he is also CEO of Silk Road Samarkand, the first multi-functional international tourism centre in Asia. Mr Butaev is a business degree graduate of Tashkent State Economic University and is fluent in four languages.

Istanbul is one of the most sought-after destinations from Samarkand, connecting the largest city in Turkey with Uzbekistan through centuries-old cultural, business and tourism ties. Istanbul airport also offers extensive onward travel opportunities to cities worldwide, and Air Samarkand plans to add further flight options on the city pairing in the near future.

Departures from Samarkand are scheduled for 8 am, arriving in Istanbul at 11.10 am, with return services departing from Istanbul at 12:30 pm and arriving back in Samarkand at 7:00 pm (all are local times).

The inaugural scheduled service marks a significant milestone for any airline, and Air Samarkand will offer passengers a world-class standard of comfort and service on the direct flights. There is also significant demand for tourism, cultural and business customers on this route and Air Samarkand looks forward to developing close commercial ties in Turkey as it establishes this new service.

Its modern Airbus A321 is widely used by leading airlines globally and has a proven record for safety, reliability and exceptional passenger comfort. Air Samarkand will operate the latest 'neo' variant of the A321, which is equipped with the new generation CFM International LEAP-1A engines that ensure low noise levels during the flight. The aircraft accommodates 221 passengers in a full economy-class cabin.

Air Samarkand will be offering customers an unprecedented baggage allowance of two checked bags weighing up to 23kg each, plus 8kg of carry-on cabin baggage.

Tickets for flights to Istanbul are available for purchase at, as well as at travel agencies connected to the Easy Booking system, and at Further sales will soon open on the airline's own website, as well as on other popular online ticket platforms and aggregators.

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02 January, 2024

Samarkand International Airport welcomes millionth passenger as traffic doubles in a year

Air Marakanda, the management company operating Samarkand International Airport, announced in December the doubling of passenger traffic for the year, compared with 495,000 passengers in 2022, and welcomed its one-millionth passenger. 

The milestone not only represents the booming tourism appeal of Uzbekistan's second city, but also highlights the successful growth strategy being pursued by the company.

The record-breaking passenger was Tajikistan resident Mr Dilshod Rakhimov, who flew to Abu Dhabi on Wizz Air flight 5W7164.

To celebrate the event, Dmitry Martynenko, Air Marakanda's Commercial Director, presented the millionth passenger with souvenirs and a voucher for the airport's VIP lounge. Wizz Air also congratulated the passenger and presented him with a voucher covering the cost of a flight to Abu Dhabi.

Anton Khojayan, CEO of Air Marakanda, said: "Serving our first millionth passenger has capped off a landmark year for our company. We opened new destinations in cooperation with partner airlines, increased the frequency of flights of existing air carriers, and developed Samarkand's airport infrastructure - all of which led us to the cherished figure of one million. We are especially pleased today to congratulate a record-breaking passenger and end the year with a celebration. We are eager to push our growth trajectory even higher, and I am confident that next year we will achieve even better results."

14 September, 2023

Samarkand to Urumqi flights to start in October with China Southern Airlines

The Uzbekistan airport management company Air Marakanda, has announced the opening of a new flight between Samarkand International Airport and Urumqi which will be operated by China Southern Airlines.   

The route will start on 16th October with the outgoing flight leaving on Mondays at 1:30 am and the return flight from Urumqi International Airport is scheduled for 23:20pm on Sundays. All flights will be operated on modern Boeing 737-800 aircraft in a two–class layout of business class and economy.  

Dmitry Martynenko, Commercial Director for Air Marakanda, said:  “This announcement marks a new step in the growing relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uzbekistan. This new gateway will further promote strong interconnectivity and collaboration between our two nations and provide a new economic pathway for capital to flow for both business and tourism respectively.” 

Urumqi is one of the most landlocked major cities in the world. Located on the northern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains, historically the region has long had strong business ties with Central Asia, as among the core traffic are business travellers and independent traders.

China is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and the opening of direct flights will help strengthen trade and economic ties between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The route network of Urumqi Airport consists of 69 domestic destinations, which will allow passengers to use Urumqi Airport as a hub to visit the largest business, industrial and tourist cities of China.

08 August, 2023

Samarkand International Airport reports record-breaking start to 2023, with more than 439,000 passengers served in first six months.

Samarkand International Airport reports a record-breaking start to 2023, with more than 439,000 passengers served in the first six months. 

Air Marakanda, the operator for Samarkand International Airport (SKD) reports record numbers of passengers used Samarkand International Airport during the first six months of 2023. 

From January to June, the airport served 439,664 passengers, which represents a 121% increase on last year’s total of 241,080 passengers. 

The most popular destinations in the first half of 2023 were Moscow, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A total of 393,689 passengers were served on these flights (a 117% increase on the same period last year).

In addition, 45,975 passengers travelled on domestic airlines (a 170% increase on last year), with Tashkent the most popular destination. 

Uzbekistan Airways, the national carrier of Uzbekistan, retained its leading position in passenger traffic at the airport with a share of 27% (120,492 passengers).

01 June, 2023

Qanot Sharq Airlines starts flights between Samarkand and Istanbul

Uzbekistan-based air carrier Qanot Sharq Airlines has started direct flights between Samarkand and Istanbul, with the inaugural flight taking off today, 1st of June.

The launch ceremony was attended by the Republic of Turkey’s Consul General in Samarkand Salih Caner, First Deputy Head of the Main Department of Culture and Tourism of the Samarkand Region Dilshod Narzikulov, together with management representatives of both Air Marakanda - the airport operators and Qanot Sharq.

Maria Sharavina, Deputy General Director of Communications, for Air Marakanda, said: "We are pleased to welcome Qanot Sharq Airlines, whose direct flights between the ancient city of Samarkand and Istanbul mark a major new step for Uzbekistan aviation and tourism. Qanot Sharq Airlines already services a number of destinations, including Tel Aviv. But the new Istanbul link will expand the opportunities for both direct flights between Uzbekistan and Turkey and for new international connections via Istanbul."

Flights from Samarkand to Istanbul will operate three times a week, departing at 7:00 am on Tuesdays, and at 8:00 am on Thursdays and Saturdays. The return service from Istanbul to Samarkand will depart at 12:40 pm on Tuesdays, and at 11:40 am local time on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Qanot Sharq Airlines will operate using Airbus 321 aircraft for the flights, and while Turkish Airlines and Uzbekistan Airways already operate flights along this route, the addition of Qanot Sharq Airlines’ flights will provide passengers with more opportunities for travel daily between Samarkand and Istanbul.

21 March, 2023

Samarkand International Airport celebrates first anniversary of terminal opening

The Republic of Uzbekistan's 
Samarkand International Airport has celebrated the first anniversary of its terminal opening. Operated by Air Marakanda in partnership with Uzbekistan Airports, the first public-private partnership in the history of Uzbekistan aviation is now looking ahead to welcoming more airlines and expanding its international route connections.

Equipped with the latest technology and services for customer comfort and security, including e-Gates and self-check-in services, the airport has been recognised by SkyTrax as one of the top ten airports in Central Asia and has joined the Airports Council International (ACI Europe). Samarkand has also recently welcomed Kuwait's Jazeera Airways for the first time, connecting Uzbekistan with Kuwait City and the wider Gulf region, and has now restarted twice weekly flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan, by Kazakhstani carrier FlyArystan. Samarkand will also soon welcome first flights from Russia's low-cost Pobeda Airline while other international airlines already flying to the airport include Turkish Airlines, Air Dubai, Azerbaijan Airways, and Wizz Air (Hungary).

16 December, 2022

Samarkand International Airport joins Airports Council International.

 Air Marakanda, the operator of Samarkand International Airport announces it received silver membership at the European branch of Airports Council International, the only global membership organization for airport operators and associations. 

ACI Europe currently represents over 500 airports in 55 countries. Its member airports serve 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe – 2.3 billion passengers, 18.4 million tons of cargo, and 21.2 million flights annually. 

Anton Khodzhajan, General Director of airport management company Air Marakanda LLC, said: “Silver membership in the International Council of Airports Europe is an important acknowledgement of Samarkand International Airport, and the next step towards a truly international profile for Air Marakanda. Here at our airport, in all areas of aviation business. I am convinced our cooperation will lead to improved service quality and an experience of international standards for travellers using SKD. Samarkand International is ready to be part of ACI Europe’s global community of excellence.”

ACI Europe represents its member airports, facilitates cooperation between airlines, airports and other aviation businesses, and works as network to ensure success for the entire aviation industry. The organisation also promotes the interest of airport operators towards regulators and legislatures, and aims to inform public opinion about the airport business.

ACI Europe membership is regarded as a validation of Air Marakanda’s efforts in developing SKD and also offers new opportunities for a continued improvement.

Air Marakanda’s membership aligns with the company’s continued development of new routes to Uzbekistan’s historic gem - the ancient city of Samarkand. Air Marakanda and its state partner Uzbekistan Airports JCS have re-developed and expanded SKD for US$80 million. The new airport will serve the region’s population of 3.9 million and act as a hub for international transit flights. 

Serving visitors to Uzbekistan’s most frequented tourist sites in, and around, the historic Silk Road city - the modern facility will be able to handle four times the number of passengers than it could previously. Independent research by market research firm, Lufthansa Consulting, forecasts an increase in annual passenger traffic from 480,000 to two million.

13 December, 2022

Uzbekistan's Samarkand International Airport welcomes Wizz Air plane.....

Air Marakanda, the operator of recently modernised Samarkand International Airport, is delighted to announce Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare UAE airline, has conducted its first flight to Samarkand.

Wizz Air’s aircraft, with a delegation from the company onboard, touched ground this afternoon at Samarkand International’s new terminal and was greeted by Air Marakanda’s leadership. The airline is the second prominent UAE carrier to launch a new route to Samarkand in Q4 2022.

Anton Khodzhajan, General Director of airport management company Air Marakanda LLC, said:  “We are pleased to welcome our new partner, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, whose direct flights between the ancient city of Samarkand and the UAE began today, marking a significant event for Uzbekistan aviation and tourism. The Air Marakanda team has worked hard to bring this about, as it opens up new travel opportunities for residents of Samarkand and the area, and will attract tourists from the Middle East to our beautiful city."

Michael Berlouis, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said:  “We welcome our seventh and eighth aircraft and are delighted to expand our ever-growing network in Central Asia, a key growth market for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. The new route into the unmissable and historic region will be operated by two new state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft which have been recently added to our fleet. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is committed to supporting the long-term growth of the UAE’s travel and tourism sector, providing an eclectic mix of new marvellous destinations. We are continuing to deliver travel options that are more convenient and affordable for everyone and we look forward to seeing you onboard our young and sustainable aircraft soon.”

Flights via Wizz Air from Abu Dhabi to Samarkand will start at only US$48, with two flights per week operated for the remainder of 2022. From 1 January 2023, Wizz Air will fly the route thrice weekly.

Part of ongoing and rapid development of new routes to Uzbekistan’s historic gem - the ancient city of Samarkand - welcoming WizzAir is aligned with Air Marakanda’s and state partner Uzbekistan Airports JCS’s US$80 million expansion of SKD. The new airport will serve the region’s population of 3.9 million and act as a hub for international transit flights.


Serving visitors to Uzbekistan’s most frequented tourist sites in, and around, the historic Silk Road city - the modern facility will be able to handle triple the number of passengers than it could previously. Independent research by market research firm, Lufthansa Consulting, forecasts an increase in annual passenger traffic from 480,000 to two million.

05 October, 2022

Samarkand International Airport (SKD) it has welcomed the first flight by Azerbaijan Airlines.

Photo Azerbaijan Airlines
Photo Azerbaijan Airlines

Air Marakanda - the operator of the newly modernized Samarkand International Airport (SKD) - has welcomed the first flight by Azerbaijan Airlines. The flight arrived at 00:00 on 5 October.

The inaugural flight was greeted by the traditional water cannons accompanying the aircraft on the airport’s taxiways. To celebrate the new connection a ceremony was held - welcoming the flight’s passengers with Uzbek music.

Representatives of Air Marakanda and Azerbaijan Airlines jointly cut a ceremonial ribbon to formally confirm the partnership. Among the ceremony’s guests were Uzbek and Azeri dignitaries, including Samarkand’s Deputy Governor of Tourism, and the head of Azerbaijan’s Samarkand-based diaspora.

Artyom Pak, CCO of airport management company, Air Marakanda LLC, said:   "We look forward to welcoming guests and travellers from Azerbaijan serviced by our valued partner Azerbaijan Airlines. Facilitating transportation between Baku and Samarkand via this new route will be mutually beneficial to Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, strengthening our countries’ cultural and commercial links. Opening another gateway also improves Central Asia’s connectivity, with Samarkand as a core tourist destination for both regional and international visitors."