Air Marakanda, the operator of Samarkand Airport, announced earlier this week the launch of a new route from Samarkand with flydubai, the Emirati government-owned low-cost airline.
The twice-weekly service will connect the historic Silk Road city of Samarkand, and the UAE’s largest city, Dubai. This new connection will start on September 20. “We are delighted to welcome flydubai to Samarkand, and connect the UAE to the history and heritage of our Silk Road city and region. The UAE is an important trade and cultural link for Uzbekistan, and we are proud to play our part in cementing and extending these links” explained Gairat Nematov, CEO of Air Marakanda.
This connection is the 12th and latest route to be announced from the newly expanded and redesigned Samarkand International Airport, with further, new route announcements scheduled for the following weeks and months.
We expect to announce many more routes very soon, regionally and internationally – to match the demand we are witnessing to visit Uzbekistan’s leading tourist area.Gairat Nematov, CEO of Air Marakanda
The Dubai-Samarkand service will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Samarkand International Airport (SKD), departing DXB at 22:40 to arrive at SKD at 02:50, with the return flight departing at 04:05 and arriving at 06:30. Emirates will codeshare on the route offering passengers more options for connections.
This announcement follows an $80 million redevelopment and expansion project for Samarkand international airport between Air Marakanda and state partner Uzbekistan Airports JCS. The new airport will serve the region’s population of 3.9 million and act as a hub for international transit flights.
Samarkand is an historic city, with a rich cultural history and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Travellers to Samarkand can enjoy astonishing monuments like the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda, the Gur-Emir and Ulugh-Beg’s Observatory.
With the addition of the new route, Samarkand joins the other five destinations in Central Asia the airline already serves: Almaty, Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
Increasing volume of passenger traffic
Serving visitors to Uzbekistan’s most frequented tourist sites in, and around, historic Silk Road city Samarkand – the modern facility will be able to handle triple the number of passengers than it could previously. Independent research by market research firm, Lufthansa Consulting, forecasts an increase in annual passenger traffic from 480,000 to two million.
As a result of the modernisation, the number of regular flights is anticipated to increase from 40 to 120 per week, with the addition of 16 new aircraft parking spaces. Having previously served twelve destinations, Air Marakanda’s route development plan aims to increase destinations to 30 by 2030. New routes will include major international destinations such as Beijing, New York, Dubai, and Munich.
International standard modernisations include 29 check-in desks, eight boarding gates, 21 passport control booths, and a 3,000 m2 commercial zone. Other upgrades include 3.1 km of runway, 800 car parking slots, new taxiway areas facilitating fast access to the airport’s terminals.