Declared demonopolization of the Uzbek aviation industry has not occurred

The other day, during a press conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan the CEO of Uzbekistan Airports Ravshan Ismoilov commented on the situation with SilkJet and Qanot Sharq, which planned to create private low-cost airlines in Uzbekistan. According to him, they started well, but then their interest subsided.

The founder of SilkJet airline Alisher Annazarov shared his opinion on this issue with a reporter.

“I came across an article with the remarks of the director of Uzbekistan Airports Ravshan Ismoilov. I would not like to go deep into the debate about the fact that Uzbekistan Airports did everything so that the low-cost airlines would come and already begin their activities. Unfortunately, we did not have meetings with Mr. Ismoilov, but, as far as I know, in the operation of airports from the point of view of resident airlines of Uzbekistan, there have been no fundamental changes compared to when they were part of Uzbekistan Airways, neither in terms of tariff policy nor in terms of volume and ETS, the service provided,” he stressed.

According to him, regarding the topic of “open skies,” the SilkJet team has never been against the introduction of this mode, and even less the introduction of the fifth freedom of airspace.

“Our team has always said that the rules of the “open skies” should be clearly regulated and applied equally, both for foreign companies flying to Uzbekistan, and for Uzbek airlines flying to foreign countries. A good example is the current intergovernmental the agreement (Air Service Agreement) between Uzbekistan and the United States, in which the conditions of “open skies” in the bilateral mode are applied,” Mr. Annazarov said.

He also added that it would be naive and unprofessional to believe that only by declaring the slogan “open skies”, not fixing it clearly and transparently in the legal field, one could hope that this would bring any benefits, and even more so without having consulted with direct participants in this market are airlines.

“The SilkJet team continues to work and consult with all international organizations and organizations in Uzbekistan that are interested in developing the country’s aviation industry. At this stage, we face many unsolved problems and challenges due to the fact that the aviation market of Uzbekistan has not developed for many years.” he said.

The main two vectors of the air company’s efforts, which are the most important at the moment, are:

  • changing the legislative framework to ensure the normal and efficient functioning of low-cost airlines, as was done in the USA and Europe and as it is now happening in Russia and Kazakhstan
  • increasing the attractiveness of the aviation market of Uzbekistan for foreign investment, without which the normal development of the country’s aviation industry is impossible.

“The last point is of great concern due to the fact that the declared demonopolization of the aviation industry of Uzbekistan did not happen. The same company (the former Uzbekistan Airways) remained on the market, which divided the monopoly into three parts, each company got its area of ​​responsibility. Thus investors don’t see a single signal saying that there is no monopoly in the aviation industry and that the newly-emerged private airline will not be infringed by a company owned by 100% of the state,” the interviewee said.

Their fears, he added, are confirmed by the fact that the unprofitable and inefficient airline is supported by the state, which continues to invest huge financial resources in it, including in the form of state guarantees. All this against the background of information that has appeared on the creation of a new state-owned carrier Humo Air does not help attract foreign capital in investing in projects related to the creation of a private airline in Uzbekistan.

“Nevertheless, the SilkJet team continues to work with all organizations interested in creating a competitive and civilized aviation market,” Mr. Annazarov concluded.

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