DUSHANBE (TCA) — The commercial director of Tajikistan’s Somon Air company, Alisher Rustamov, has been fired over the cancellation of the long-awaited return of regular passenger service between Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe and the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.
Somon Air said on February 21 that Rustamov and several of his subordinates were fired after an internal investigation revealed the company had failed to provide the Tashkent airport with the necessary documents to resume the service as of February 20.
The February 20 flight from Dushanbe to Tashkent by Somon Air was meant to highlight the restoration of air service between the two countries, but it was canceled at the last moment. Somon Air officials said that the Tashkent airport had canceled the flight.
Somon Air said on February 21 that the service will begin “in the nearest future.”
With the exception of a test-flight on February 10, there have been no direct civilian flights between the two capitals since 1992.
Several rounds of negotiations between Tajik and Uzbek government officials to resume Dushanbe-Tashkent flights failed in recent years amid frosty relations under longtime Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who died last year.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who replaced Karimov after his death and won the presidential election in December, has promised to improve ties with neighboring Central Asian states and take other steps to decrease Uzbekistan’s isolation.
An agreement to resume Dushanbe-Tashkent flights was signed in November.