DUSHANBE, January 28, 2014, Asia-Plus -- Chinese-made MA-60s will not be operated in Tajikistan in the coming years, Firouz Hamroyev, director general of Tajik national air carrier, Tajik Air, told journalists in Dushanbe on January 28.

Tajikistan suspended operation of Chinese-made MA-60s after a last year’s accident at the Dushanbe airport, when MA-60 belonging to Tajik national air carrier, Tajik Air, suddenly “hit earth.”

“We have decided that the aircraft will work in Afghanistan and a one-year contract has been concluded with Afghanistan’s East Horizon Airline,” Ikrom Mavlonov, Tajik Air deputy director general for economic issues, noted.

Tajik Air top mangers noted that Tajik national air carrier now use only Western type aircraft to operate long-distance flights.

Tajik Air’s fleet now consists of 39 aircraft; 12 of them are operated while the remaining 27 aircraft are reportedly in a long-term storage.

We will recall that China’s Xian Aircraft Company XAC has offered Tajik national air two MA-60s for leasing.  This issue was considered during President Rahmonov’s visit to China in January 2007.  MA-60s were supposed to replace Russian type An-24s on the domestic flights and air routes from Dushanbe to Kabul and Bishkek.

Tajikistan suspended operation of MA-60 last year.  MA-60 is reportedly not certified to fly in the CIS member nations and Tajik Air was the first air carrier within the CIS area to operate MA-60.

The Xian MA60 is a turboprop-powered airliner made by China''s Xi''an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under the China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I).  The MA60 is a stretched version of the Xian Y7-200A, which was produced based on Soviet aircraft Antonov An-24 to operate in rugged conditions with limited ground support and has short take-off and landing (STOL) capability.  The airplane received its type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China in June 2000.  The first aircraft was delivered to Sichuan Airlines in August 2000.

Tajik Air (Tajikistan Airlines) is the national airline of Tajikistan.  The airline has its main hub at the Dushanbe airport, and it retains a secondary focus point at the Khujand airport.

The company started operations on September 3, 1924 as Tajik Aviation. Its first route was Bukhara to Dushanbe, served by Junkers F-13 aircraft.  It is the sixth oldest airline still in operation.

Tajik Air now serves the following destinations: China (Urumqi); Iran (Tehran, Mashhad); Kazakhstan (Almaty); Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek); Russia (Irkutsk, Moscow, Novosibirsk, St Petersburg, Samara, Sochi, Surgut, and Yekaterinburg); Tajikistan (Khorog and Khujand); and United Arab Emirates (Sharjah).