Afghanistan, Uzbekistan launch direct air flights


TASHKENT (TCA) — An Afghan Kam Air passenger jet landed at Tashkent International Airport on November 29 after making the first-ever direct commercial flight from Kabul to Uzbekistan’s capital, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported.

The Uzbek government said earlier that talks on starting direct flights between the two capitals were under way and that a Kabul-Tashkent flight would begin operating twice a week as of December 8.

Without a direct flight, passengers from Afghanistan have to spend roughly 17 to 32 hours to reach Tashkent via Istanbul and Dubai.

The new flight from Kabul to Tashkent takes 90 minutes.

It is expected that Kam Air will use Tashkent airport as a hub for connections to European countries.

Media reports cited Uzbekistan Airways officials as saying that it will start operating flights from Tashkent to Kabul in the near future.

Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoev, who came to power following the death of longtime autocrat Islam Karimov last year, has said that improving ties with Uzbekistan’s neighbors is his major foreign policy priority.

The launch of the direct air communication between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan is timed to coincide with an official visit of the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, to Tashkent, scheduled for early December.

Established in 2003, Kam Air is a privately-owned airlines company. It runs regular flights to New Delhi, Tehran, Istanbul, and Dushanbe (Tajikistan).

Sergey Kwan