This phrase sounds regularly on board the airplanes flying from Uzbekistan to more than 40 cities of Europe, Asia and America. Modern airliners with the insignia of Uzbekistan Airways National Air Company can be encountered on the flight pathways of international airports – from New York in the West through to Tokyo in the East, and from Tyumen in the North through to Singapore in the South. That is one of the symbols of the independent Uzbekistan, namely, a robust, stable and speedily advancing airline company.
To keep the altitude at all times
As the data of the International Association of Air Transport, there are more than 1,300 state-owned and private air companies around the world. International air communications are provided by over 470 air carriers, while around 250 of them operate regular international flights. In conditions of such harsh competition, Uzbekistan Airways National Air Company, founded by the Decree of our country’s President Islam Karimov 22 years ago, has robustly occupied its well-deserved place in the world air market. Its distinguishing features have included safety, comfort and services of high quality. This was, by the way, confirmed again by the outcomes of the last year’s audit of the quality of services of the Uzbek air carrier that was conducted by the British independent rating agency SkyTrax.
“Everything the company achieved is the result of a constant attention and care of the President of our country, the goal-minded and multifaceted efforts that cover such dimensions as systemic modernization of the technological fleet, development of the base of technical servicing of liners of Western and domestic production, perfection of land infrastructure, transformation of the system of management of air traffic, creation of its own base for training highly professional specialists,” says the first deputy director general of Uzbekistan Airways National Air Company Akmal Akbarov.
Production and financial indicators have been gaining in strength from one year to another, so has the effectiveness of the operation of national air company. In the first half of the year 2014, in excess of 11.4 thousand flights were conducted; more than 1.2 million passengers were transported, while cargo transportation, including mail and paid-for luggage, amounted to more than 20 thousand tons. This has been achieved owing to the flexible reaction to the state of affairs in the air transportation market, to the expansion of the geography of routes, and increase in the number of flights. Air communication has been established with Singapore this year, and new regular flight destinations have been launched from Termez to Saint Petersburg, from Urgench to Volgograd. The frequency of flights has been increased, for instance, the flight Tashkent-Riga-New York and vice versa is carried out twice a week – on Thursdays and Sundays. In order to promote the tourist potential of our country, the flights from Frankfurt, Paris and Milan are conducted through Urgench.
Air ports of our country
The renewal of the land-based technical base, including the perfection of the infrastructure of passenger and cargo terminals, is one of the priority aspects in the activities of the national airline. Thanks to the constant consideration of the head of our state, Uzbekistan’s airports have undergone reconstruction of runways, the appearance of air terminal complexes has been upgraded, the number of passenger terminals has been increased, and the technology of services has been improved. The new runways are capable of receiving aircrafts of any type, while the terminals are able to service the noticeably growing flow of passengers.
A new air terminal of local airlines has been constructed at the Tashkent Airport, which is capable of serving 400 passengers an hour. A new comfortable block for out-flying passengers has been commissioned at the terminal of international air transport of this airport. It boasts a business hall with an increased comfort level, a mother and child room, a medical unit, a cafeteria, Duty-Free shop. VIP and CIP halls are currently undergoing cardinal overhaul.
New passenger terminals have been successfully operating at Bukhara and Navoi airports, with all the amenities and high-tech equipment. At the Urgench international airport, a new arrivals hall was opened in 2011, and a new passenger terminal was commissioned a month ago with a capacity of serving 300 people an hour. Especially for tourists arriving in Khorezm region, an information room has been established here, where anyone interested can find comprehensive information on the transport opportunities of the region, hotels, catering and services and other useful information. A new air terminal at the Ferghana Airport is expected to be commissioned on the eve of our country’s Independence Day.
Measures taken to advance the infrastructure of airports have facilitated the assignment of the status of international airports to as many as 12 airports of our nation so far. Last February, the airports of Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Nukus, Karshi, Termez, Urgench, Andijan, Feghana, Navoi, Namangan, along with other facilities, passed the first re-certification audit for correspondence with the requirements of international quality standard ISO 9001:2008. The examination confirmed the stability and the promising nature of this introduced system.
The high quality operation of airports of our country is indicated by their achievements at diverse international contests. This past June alone, the three of our airports were announced winners in various nominations of the contest “The Year’s Best Airport in the CIS” for their work in 2013. Thus, the Bukhara Airport was awarded the title “Dynamically Advancing Airport” transporting from 100 thousand to half a million passengers a year. The international airports of Samarkand and Urgench have triumphed in the nomination “For Great Contribution to the Development of Production”.
International experts have called the airports of Uzbekistan reliable also from the perspective of safety. All of them have mandatory operation of gas analyzers and metal detectors, scanners, and a more perfect and reliable machinery and equipment is being introduced. The raised level of security and safety at the airports is provided for by the permanent patrol of law enforcement agencies, the equipment of zones with systems of closed-circuit television and special technical means.
For flights to be convenient and advantageous
Uzbekistan Airways has been gradually implementing a program of air fleet modernization. The first European Airbus with insignia of the National Air Company of Uzbekistan landed in our country as far back as in 1993, while the American Boeing did so in 1996. They have eventually replaced the airliners Il-62, Il-86, Tu-154, Yak-40, An-24 not only international flights, but also domestic. Within the last three years alone, the air company’s fleet has been filled with modern, comfortable, economical aircraft from the leaders of world aviation industry – Airbus 320-200 and Boeing 767-300-ER.
Perhaps the most remarkable event in the latest history of the evolution of Uzbekistan’s air transport is going to be the arrival in 2016 of two Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Uzbekistan Airways has become one of the first air companies of the world who signed contract with Boeing Civil Airliners for the procurement of new-generation long-range aircraft with an increased level of comfort. It is expected that the national air company will become the first operator of these newest airplanes in the CIS space, demonstrating thus its aspiration for constant perfection.
“I have flown for as long as thirty years within Uzbekistan and abroad,” tells the entrepreneur Shavkat Mirzaev. “I recall the times when one had to fly to Moscow if he/she was to travel abroad. That was the case even if the destination was south-bound from Tashkent, the compulsory route being through a north-bound Moscow. That used to cause tremendous inconvenience and additional expenses. Owing to independence, new flight destinations have opened, and residents and guests of our country are flying to foreign nations not only from Tashkent, but also from other cities of our land. The quality of services has gone up.”
On board the airliners of Uzbekistan Airways, passengers turn up in conditions of comfort, warmth, care and attentiveness. The aircraft are equipped with individual lamps for reading, personal pulled-up tables, and the luggage shelves are spacious. Motion pictures, documentaries, music videos and animation films are aired through the video projectors. Boeing airliners have individual monitors and hence the passenger can independently opt for an entertainment program of his/her interest. These monitors also allow for the observation of the direction of plane movement and the information on flight (the air-show system). During long-range international flights, passengers of the first and business classes have an opportunity to use onboard iPads free of charge. In addition, the special catalogue magazine Sky Shop gives an opportunity for everyone to purchase any product they like directly during the flight.
Especially notable is the system of food services, as well. According to the director of Catering state unitary enterprise Buron Ergashev, production capacities allow for catering thousands of portions of hot and cold meals, offer various beverages and fruits on board the liners of all the air routes. Under constant control is the quality of all the range of meals and items, while more than 300 titles of meals have a certificate Global Test. When purchasing or reserving air tickets, customers can order – free of charge – special meals given the age or religious beliefs, including the vegetarian, children’s, fruit and kosher menus.
For frequently flying passengers, Uzbekistan Airways offers a special program UzAirPlus, a system of accumulation of points for each kilometer of flight. Its participants are given a unique opportunity as a prize to carry out a bonus flight, to raise the class of service, to make use of the services of business hall when passing registration to a flight of the air company Uzbekistan Airways. Those participants with the highest number of scores are awarded with silver or gold cards, which allow for additional privileges and services, particularly they may pass registration through a CIP hall and carry additional luggage for free.
Many air companies of the world acknowledge that the Uzbek school of flight training is one of the most advanced. The reason is probably is in the fact that it was shaped uninterruptedly during many years, on the basis of the principle “mentor-apprentice”, while the theory is closely linked with practice. Launched in the independence years, the process of filling the air fleet with modern aircraft led to the modernization of the entire air fleet, including the increased requirements to training flight personnel. With the appearance of new airliners, the first group of aviators passed high theoretical and practical training at the world’s best education and training centers in the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, France, and South Korea.
Among the discoverers of the new phase of development of the flight industry is, for example, Zarkhuja Saidazimov, the Hero of Uzbekistan, the pilot-instructor of the Boeing team of Uzbekistan Airways. In 1992, soon after the establishment of the national air company, he was first to conduct flight on the liner Tu-154 in the destination Tashkent-Bahrain-Tashkent. After that, he was among the first to grasp the secrets of Airbus and Boeing jointly with foreign colleagues. It has been many years that the experienced pilot has been transferring his rich expertise on to the younger generation.
In 2012, when Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived in Tashkent as part of the global presentation tour, representatives of the American company and Uzbekistan Airways conducted an hourly flight to test the characteristics of the aircraft. The operation of the airliner was entrusted on one of the most outstanding pilots of Uzbekistan Airways – director of the flight complex of the air company Alisher Karimov, who is one of the most successful apprentices of Z.Saidazimov’s. That unprecedented decision of Boeing Civil Aviation was another indicator of the profound respect to the professionalism of our pilots.
They, by the way, will soon be trained only in Uzbekistan – at the Education-Training Center of the national air company, which has an international certificate and wields all the necessary conditions for that goal to be furthered. Also, to maintain the flight suitability of pilots and provide for a necessary qualification of the flight personnel, cutting-edge procedure cockpit mockups for airliners Boeing 757/767, A-320 and the unique Full-Flight simulator of the domestic airplane Il-114-100 operate at the Training Complex of the national air company, allowing for the flight personnel to train in conditions maximally close to the real ones.
International norms of flight safety and the operation of sophisticated aviation machinery require the state-of-the-art system of air traffic management. The automated center for air traffic control, outfitted with the cutting-edge dispatcher and navigation systems and meeting all the international standards, functions at the Tashkent International Airport. The Uzaeronavigatsiya allows for air traffic control across all the air space of Uzbekistan and open up new air corridors. Every airliner in the skies of Uzbekistan is under constant oversight of air traffic controllers who manage the air traffic in close cooperation with thousands of aviation specialists.
Reliability tested by time
Today, the requirements for aviation safety standards, reliability and quality of air transportation have been rising. And here, one must strike a balance between the satisfaction of passenger requests and interests of the air carrier, the more so at the international level. In Uzbekistan Airways, flight safety and aviation security are the most vital elements of its activity. It is indicated by the awards of the International Fund for Flight Safety and the Non-commercial Partnership “Safety of Flights” for achievements in this field and the successful audits of the national air company by the IOSA, confirming the security and reliability of our air company.
Working in air transport is an everyday selfless labor that requires the highest level of responsibility, thorough knowledge, scruple, the ability to swiftly taking optimal decisions in the most intricate of circumstances. Not only the safety of flights and the technical serviceability of the air fleet, but also fire safety, emergency-rescue and medical provision of remote areas as well as the execution of other socially significant tasks is contingent on the professionalism of pilots, engineers, technical staff, and specialists of land-based services. The efforts of the entire air personnel are concentrated on the solution of the principal challenge, that is, to secure the reliability and safety of flights, the regularity of air transportation and the high culture of serving the passengers. Owing to such attitude to work by all the personnel of the sector, the air fleet will always be an object of pride of our country.
Prospective plans of Uzbekistan’s national air company are associated with the consolidation of its positions across all the segments of the market. In accordance with the tasks set to further advance the civil aviation, the priority directions for Uzbekistan Airways national company are securing and uplifting the safety of flights and aviation safety, improving the work of all structures and production complexes. This all is without any doubt directed at the satisfaction of the mounting requests of our compatriots for them to be able to carry out air flights to various corners of the world with maximum comfort.