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Russia, Tajikistan to lift restrictions on Somon Air flights to Russia — deputy minister

January 27, 13:06 UTC+3 DUSHANBE

Flights between Russia and Tajikistan were suspended in December 2016 as the Tajik airline Somon Air was banned to perform flights to Russian regions except Moscow and St. Petersburg

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DUSHANBE, January 27. /TASS/. Russia and Tajikistan have agreed to lift restrictions on flights performed by the Tajik Somon Air to the Russian regions, Deputy Transport Minister Sherali Ganjalzoda said following the meeting of the Russian-Tajik intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation on Friday.

"An agreement has been reached (with Russia’s Transport Minister - TASS) to lift embargo on flights performed by Somon Air to four cities - Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, Ufa and Orenburg," he said, adding that "the flights from Zhukovsky will be performed on a parity basis, the state-owned Tajik Air is also permitted to fly from Zhukovsky."

The commission side-stepped the decision on flights of the Yamal airline from Zhukovsky airport in Russia’s Moscow region to Tajikistan until the summer season (lasts from macrh to October), Ganjalzoda said.

"Currently, Ural airlines fly from Zhukovsky to Dushanbe twice a week and now Tajik Air and Ural airlines will also fly to Khudzhand on parity basis," he said. "As for flights of Yamal (from Zhukovsky to Tajikistan - TASS.) this issue has been put off until the beginning of the summer season, this question will depend on the public needs," Gandzhalzoda said.

"The Tajik side has confirmed that the second Russian air carrier - Yamal airline - has been permitted to fly from Zhukovsky airport to Tajikistan starting the summer IATA 2017 season (from March to October - TASS)," the Transport Ministry reported. "Flights performed by Somon Air to Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, Orenburg and Ufa will be resumed," the report said.

Four Russian, Tajik companies will start flying via Zhukovsky in May, he added. 

Air service to be resumed gradually

 First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said four air carriers from Russia and Tajikistan will start flights via Zhukovsky airport in May 2017.

"We’ll try to ensure that those four companies launch flights via Zhukovsky from the beginning of the peak season, which will most likely start in the spring - in May," he said, adding that the sides "have agreed the issue."

"We have an understanding of how to proceed. We’re particularly committed to preparing certain documents for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Tajikistan," he said at the meeting of the Russian-Tajik intergovernmental commission on Friday.

"The Foreign Ministry and all departments have to use the remaining weeks to ensure that the documents promoting our cooperation are signed at the top level in the presence of presidents," Shuvalov said.

According to Shuvalov, the flights will be thoroughly monitored, and the number of airlines performing flights via the new airport will be reduced to one from each side in case of underutilization and related losses. Also, airlines will be obliged to provide lower tariffs compared with companies flying to other destinations, he added.

"We agreed that besides the exiting flights we will maintain flight connection through the Zhukovsky airport in the Moscow region but carefully. We will be resuming these flights involving two airlines from Russia and two existing airlines from Tajikistan. We will do it slowly in order not to spoil business of these companies," he said. Flights between Russia and Tajikistan were suspended in December 2016 as the Tajik airline Somon Air was banned to perform flights to Russian regions, except Moscow and St. Petersburg. Earlier Tajikistan refused to agree flights by Yamal from Zhukovsky airport in the Moscow region to Khudzhand in the north of Tajikistan, saying that this would break the parity between the countries on the number of airlines selected for serving flights.

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