Baku, Azerbaijan, April 3
The Russian civilian aviation authorities have suspended Tajik air carriers’ flights to some cities of the Russian Federation, Tajik News.TJ reported.
The Tajik side has responded by suspending Russian airlines’ flights to Dushanbe and Khujand.
According to press release issued by Tajikistan’s private air carrier, Somon Air, on April 1, the Russian civil aviation authorities have suspended Tajik air carriers’ flights to eleven cities of Russian Federation.
Moscow reportedly suspended flights of Tajik air carriers from Dushanbe to the Russian cities of Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, St. Petersburg and Sochi and from the Tajik northern city of Khujand to Kazan and St. Petersburg.
“Besides, the permit to operate flights from Khujand to Moscow expires in early April and this air route will probably also be suspended,” a source at Somon Air told Asia-Plus in an interview.
Meanwhile, flights on the air routes from Dushanbe to Moscow and Novosibirsk, from Khujand to Novosibirsk and Krasnodar, as well as from Kulob to Moscow will be operated in accordance with their schedules.
Tajikistan has responded by halting flights of five Russian airlines’ flights, namely Ural Airlines, UTair, S-7 Airlines, Nordwind Airlines and Globus Airlines (Russian airline based at Domodedovo International Airport and operating for S7 Airlines), from Russian regions to Dushanbe and Khujand beginning on April 2, according to the Tajik civil aviation authorities.
Thus, Tajik civil aviation authorities reportedly halted flights of the mentioned airlines from Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Samara and St. Petersburg to Dushanbe and from Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Samara and Surgut to Khujand.
Tomorrow, Tajik civil aviation delegation will fly to Moscow to conduct negotiations with Russian counterparts over the airlines battle.
Recall, the story began on March 12, when Tajikistan’s Transportation Ministry denied Yekaterinburg-based Ural Airlines permission to operate five routes connecting cities in the two countries.
Ural Airlines suspects Tajik aviation authorities of carrying out a “systematic campaign” aiming at squeezing Russian air carriers out of Tajikistan’s market. Tajik aviation officials, for their part, say Ural Airlines is acting beyond the confines of a bilateral agreement granting Tajik and Russian air companies equal numbers of flights between the countries.
The history of disputes between the Tajik and Russian civil aviation authorities dates back to early November 2016. The two countries faced the threat of suspension of flights in early November because of a dispute between Moscow and Dushanbe over the status of Russia’s Zhukovsky International Airport, which was officially opened in May 2016.
Dushanbe called for a revision of existing bilateral agreements on mutual air flights, saying that Zhukovsky is Moscow’s fourth international airport and that it has increased the number of flights from Moscow to Tajikistan.
The Russian civil aviation authorities insisted that Zhukovsky International Airport is not under Moscow’s authority but of the town of Ramenskoye.
Tajikistan that time agreed only to flights for Ural Airlines and Tajik Air from Zhukovsky Airport.