The first round table of Central Asian airlines held in Tajikistan’s Dushanbe

This week, the first round table with CEOs of airlines from Central Asian (CA) countries was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The participants included such air companies, as Somon Air (Tajikistan), Air Astana (Kazakhstan), SCAT Airlines (Kazakhstan), QAZAQ Air (Kazakhstan), Uzbekistan Airways (Uzbekistan) and Avia Traffic Company (Kyrgyzstan).

These air companies discussed problems hindering the growth and development of air services in Central Asia, including issues of flight safety and jet fuel supplies.

According to the forecasts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), by 2037 the passenger traffic will double in the global aviation industry and, according to the expected shift in the focus of the global economy from West to East, the passenger traffic in Central Asian countries will increase significantly. In this regard, cooperation between air carriers to develop the civil aviation sector in the region is extremely important. At the meeting, the air companies sounded a number of challenges that affect the competitiveness of aviation in Central Asia.

Thus, the meeting participants noted that flight safety was a top priority for both airlines and aviation regulators, airports and other enterprises of the aviation industry. It is necessary to ensure full compliance with international safety standards, in particular, the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), including when conducting investigations of aviation events, technical standards of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), IATA operational safety audit (IOSA) and IATA’s Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).

“It is necessary to draw the attention of governments to the importance of applying the best international practices in relation to taxation, customs duties, fees and other related costs. For example, airlines recognize the importance of processing passenger information (API/PNR) by government agencies to maintain security, but such systems do not must be funded by airlines and passengers. For example, 94 countries of the world do not apply any charges for API / PNR purposes,” representatives of the airlines noted.

In addition, the growth of air travel is a prerequisite for capacity building to develop economies of the Central Asian states. Air companies urge their governments to implement the best international standards and practices, to invest and develop the necessary infrastructure at a reasonable and transparent cost, both in terms of air transportation and ground service.

Air companies hope for more effective cooperation with governmental agencies in preparing national aviation development strategies, as well as in improving the aviation industry and overcoming obstacles to its growth in the region.

Airlines have gained expert support from IATA, as these experts were present at the round table as observers.

The round table of the Central Asian air companies’ CEOs will be held on a regular basis twice a year. The next meeting is scheduled for October 2019.

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