A new leadership of Tajik Air (Tajikistan’s national air carrier) hopes to overcome crisis and resume flights in the near future.

“Works are being carried out to overcome crisis with the framework of the Special Program of State Support for Tajik Air Open Joint-Stock Company designed for 2018-2023,” new head of Tajik Air, Dilshod Ismatullzodoa, told reporters in Dushanbe on February 11.  

According to him, these measures include reduction of expenses, introduction of new technologies, new methods of management and purchase of new planes.

“Unfortunately, our fleet has become obsolete and we intend to sell planes that have outlived their service and use the proceeds for repayment of the company’s debts,” Ismatullozoda said.  

Concerning the issue of resumption of flights, Ikrom Subhonzoda, the director of the Civil Aviation Agency, noted that it is hard to say when the company intends to resume flights.

“This depends on many factors such as technical readiness, attraction of funds and so forth.  We are interested in early resumption of flights,” Subhonzoda added.   

Recall, Tajik Air has actually suspended it operations stopping flights practically on all air routes.  Experts say it cannot be ruled out that the company will be declared bankrupt with further handover to private hands.

Tajik Air has been experiencing various problems for a long time but they showed up more sharply ahead of the New Year holidays, when the airlines began postponing flights for several days.  On January 1, the carrier announced it was cancelling flights on its Dushanbe-Moscow route until the end of January. Since then, the scale of Tajik Air’s troubles has only deepened, and the airline was forced to make changes to its flight schedule.  Tajik Air then sent its staff members on leave without pay.  

A state commission was set up to investigate the current condition of the airline. The commission is presided over by Prime Minister Rasoul Qohirzoda.

The national airline has experienced great financial difficulties since the end of the zero years.  Specialists of the airline say that in such conditions the carrier turned out to be due to high prices for jet fuel and the unstable economic situation.  They believe that only state support can save the airline from imminent bankruptcy.

In the summer 2018, the Tajik Government’s resolution created the Tajik Air Supervisory Board, headed by the Prime Minister Rasoul Qohirzoda.

On September 25, 2018, the government issued the resolution approving  the Special Program of State Support for Tajik Air Open Joint-Stock Company for 2018-2023 that was developed by the Supervisory Board.

The Program was reportedly aimed at developing the material and technical base and increasing competitiveness and financial and economic rehabilitation of Tajik Air.

The measures specified in the Program are planned to be implemented at the expense of the Government and state investment projects, as well as concessional long-term loans from international financial institutions.

Attached to the program is an Action Plan, which consists of 11 items.  One of the main points of the Action Plan is to instruct the State Committee on Investments and State-owned Property Management, the Civil Aviation Agency and the airline itself to draw up and submit proposals on attracting investments through the privatization of the Tajik Air stake.

It means that the government that owns all 100% of Tajik Air shares is ready to transfer the shares of the national air carrier to private hands.    

According to the Special Program, Soviet-era planes produced in 1969-1992 will be put up for sale in218 and 2019.  

At present, the Tajik Air’s production capacity is mainly composed of Soviet-made aircraft, such as TU-154M, TU-134 A-3, AN-24B, AN-26, AN-28, Yak-40 and MI-8 MTB helicopters.  The air carrier also has Boeing 767-322, Boeing 757-200, Boeing 737-300, Boeing 737-500 and MA-60 of Chinese production.

As of January 1 2018, the total number of the air company’s aircraft was 34, including 31 aircraft and three helicopters.  Of the total number of aircraft, only four ones are in good condition. Six of them are faulty, and 21 are in storage.  As regards the three helicopters, only one is operational.

Sources close to the airline say Tajik Air will be declared bankrupt in the near future and its shares will be transferred to private hands.