Tajik national air carrier, Tajik Air, has reportedly resumed flights after half a year idle.

On July 26, Tajik Air’s Boeing 767 carried a group of Tajik Hajj pilgrims from Khujand to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Director of the Civil Aviation Agency under the Government of Tajikistan, Ikrom Subhonzoda, told Asia-Plus in an interview.   

According to him, they are carrying out works on resuming flights and establishing stable operation of the company.  

He further noted that a special commission had determined the total value of the company’s illiquid assets – about 4 million U.S. dollars.  

Meanwhile, Tajik Air Director General Dilshod Ismatullozoda notes that the company now has five aircraft and one helicopter.  Of the total number of planes, only one is in good condition – Boeing 767, which is currently carrying Tajik Hajj pilgrims.

“Two aircraft are currently in overhaul – one in Moscow (Russia) and another one in Sharjah (the United Arab Emirates),” Ismatullozoda said, noting that two other planes (Boeing 757 and Antonov-28) and helicopter Mi-48 are now in Dushanbe.     

Recall, Tajik Air suspended it operations early this year, stopping flights practically on all air routes.  Some experts even noted that it could not be ruled out that the company would 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.   

In accordance with the Special Program, Soviet-era planes produced in 1969-1992 were to be put up for sale in 218 and 2019.