The grand opening of the newly modernized Samarkand International Airport with its brand new terminal took place on 18 March 2022 in Uzbekistan.
Samarkand International Airport has opened itself to local and international passengers with a brand new terminal and a capacity to serve triple more people. An initial flight from Tashkent to Samarkand by Uzbekistan Airways became a part of the opening ceremony of the airport.
The new design of the airport is shaped like an open book, which is based on a manuscript published by the famous astronomer and Governor Mirzo Ulugbek, who ruled over Samarkand in the 15th century. The width of the airport building reaches 175 meters, whereas the height makes 25 meters.
More than 250 people attended the grand opening ceremony of the Samarkand International Airport, among which were the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Achilbay Ramatov, the Minister of Transport Ilkhom Makhkamov, Khokim of the Samarkand Region Erkinjon Turdimov, and the Chairman of the Board of Uzbekistan Airports Rano Juraeva.
In the shape of a new modernization project, Samarkand International Airport will have a capacity to serve up to 1,000 passengers per hour and up to 120 flights weekly. The new project also includes a runway extension of 3.1 km, a total of 24 new aircraft parking spaces available, and modernized infrastructure.
International standard modernizations include easy access for passengers with limited mobility, 29 check-in desks, eight boarding gates, four air stairs, ten passport control booths, six E-gates for departing passengers, and 15 passport control booths for arriving passengers.
The total cost of the project makes 80 million USD. The project was designed by the Turkish company KIKLOP and the construction process was implemented by the Uzbek Company Enter Engineering.
The project is a public-private venture between Air Marakanda and state partner Uzbekistan Airports JCS. The operation of the Samarkand International Airport is handled by Air Marakanda Company, involving foreign ex-pats and experts in the management.
The Deputy General Director of Operations Air Marakanda, Hilmi Yilmaz, said:
“On behalf of the entire staff of Air Marakanda, I thank our government and all partners, without whom the implementation of such a large-scale project would have been impossible. I am certain that Samarkand International Airport, as one of the region’s most important infrastructure facilities, will stimulate economic growth and business development in the adjacent areas, creating jobs for the local population and benefiting society as a whole. An airport is the first thing you see when you arrive in a country and the last thing you see when you leave. Samarkand International Airport will become a ‘visiting card’ of Uzbekistan.”
Independent research by market research company, Lufthansa Consulting, forecasts an increase in annual passenger traffic from 480,000 to two million. The airport used to serve only five destinations in 2019, and the operating company Air Marakanda plans to increase the number of destinations to 30 by 2030.
This year flights will operate 3 times a week to Moscow, Istanbul, Tashkent, and 2 times a week to Almaty and Saint Petersburg. The following year Sharjah and Krasnoyarsk are in the planned destinations for the following year. Additional flights will be organized upon demand and necessity.