Offer for Tajik air carriers to reduce their air ticket prices

The aviation authorities of Tajikistan have suggested that local airlines review their tariff policies for international airlines in order not to lose passengers.

Ikrom Subkhonzoda, CEO, Civil Aviation Agency, Tajikistan, said at a press conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on February 11, 2019: “In the fourth quarter of 2018, we invited domestic airlines and conducted an additional analysis of air ticket prices, and introduced certain adjustments to the tariff policy so that passengers use our airports and airlines.”

As a result, he noted, the cost of air tickets in the current autumn-winter season decreased by 15-20% on average, as compared with the last spring-summer period.

“Now the cost of a ticket, for example, on the Dushanbe – Moscow air route is up to TJS 2.4 thousand, and earlier it cost up to TJS 3 thousand,” Mr. Subkhonzoda said.

However, the Deputy General Director of Somon Air Kosim Valiev clarified that the cost of a ticket on the same air route varies depending on what time a passenger gets a ticket: the earlier a ticket is purchased before departure, the cheaper it costs and vice versa.

“If, for example, a passenger purchases a ticket for Dushanbe – Moscow flight one month before the day of departure, it will cost even less than TJS 2 thousand,” Mr. Valiev said.

Mr. Subkhonzoda stressed that the adjustment of pricing policy is related to the fact that domestic airlines do not lose passengers.

“Our citizens began to use the airports of neighbouring countries – Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Nearly 10 airports in neighbouring countries are located within a radius of up to 300 km from Khujand Airport, where the airfare is lower,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Somon Air representative noted at the press conference that the market determines the cost of the ticket nowadays, as it depends on supply and demand.

“Passengers are free in their choice, they can choose a bus, train and other transport,” Mr. Valiev concluded.

Refueling center is not to blame

Earlier, Tajik airlines stated that the high cost of air tickets, first of all, is associated with too expensive jet fuel, which is sold at local airports.

The air carriers noted that they pay up to US $ 1.5 thousand for each metric ton of kerosene at the Refueling Company, while such volume of jet fuel is sold twice cheaper at the airports of the neighbouring countries.

The new CEO of Tajik Air, Dilshod Ismatullozoda, believes that it is not worth blaming sellers of aviation kerosene for high cost of air tickets.

“I never said that the high cost of a ticket is related to the high cost of jet fuel. It also depends on the technical condition of the aircraft. The older the equipment, the greater the cost for it. Certain funds are also sent to improve the qualifications of flight personnel, which, of course, in one way or another affects the cost of tickets,” he said.

Air ticket sales offices will disappear

Many people also explain the high prices of air tickets at Tajik airports by the fact that air ticket sales in Tajikistan are carried out by intermediaries who have a certain amount on each ticket.

According to Mr. Subkhonzoda, indeed, we have air ticket sales offices that receive the appropriate permits for this activity. He noted that such a permit is issued by the Civil Aviation Agency, if the applied legal entity complies with existing requirements.

Mr. Subhonzoda stressed that these offices enter into contracts with airlines and have 6-8% of its cost from each air ticket sold.

He noted that domestic airlines started selling e-tickets, which would later lead to the disappearance of air ticket sales offices.

Mr. Subkhonzoda added that airlines will sell their air tickets to passengers without intermediaries, receiving cash in non-cash form.

Meanwhile, according to the Statistics Agency under the President of Tajikistan, the cost of air travel in Tajikistan increased by 6.4% last year.

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