DUSHANBE (TCA) — Uzbekistan’s national airlines company Ozbekiston Havo Yollari (Uzbekistan Airways) has resumed flights from Tashkent to Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, some 25 years after such flights were halted, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.
A plane from the state-run Ozbekiston Havo Yollari landed at Dushanbe’s international airport on April 11 with 29 passengers aboard.
The resumption of regular commercial flights between the two Central Asian countries originally had been scheduled for February, but was postponed several times due to what both sides said were “technical” and “bureaucratic” reasons.
Ozbekiston Havo Yollari said earlier that it plans to operate regular Tashkent to Dushanbe flights twice a week using Airbus A-320 passenger planes.
The April 11 flight was the first direct civilian passenger flight between the two capitals since 1992.
Regular flights between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were interrupted in 1992 after the outbreak of a civil war in Tajikistan. In November 2016, the two countries signed a protocol on resuming flights between their capitals in the first half of 2017.
Uzbekistan Airways is a monopoly air carrier in Uzbekistan, wholly owned by the state. It currently operates flights to over 20 cities in Europe, America, the Middle East, and Asia, and to 22 cities of the Commonwealth of Independent States and 11 destinations inside Uzbekistan.
Relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been strained for years over disputes about transportation transit routes, border security, and the sharing of water resources. Changes in Tashkent’s policies are now expected under the new Uzbek President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.